Songs of the Garden




What’s wrong,

handsome small farmer?

Heron stopping,

pony stopping—









Healthy, educated maiden,

she would serve you a rough half-bushel—

cockle soup, a brew,

the water in which the puddings had been cooked








Remember, pilgrim: not the clothes, the road.


Pass between two hills’ breadth.


Put wind into the wish.








Mischance fall upon them who avoid the conflict:

the fork of their breeches

tied in a bundle








Manage cheerfully,

two by two:

cock and gander,

dove and dragon.








Defied book-knowledge—

Taught the garden—








A compact:

first, housewifely tasks; then,

much ale.





“Songs of the Garden” is made of words and phrases transcribed from the footnotes of English and Scottish Ballads, a collection edited by Robert Graves (London: Heinemann, 1957). It is part of a brief manuscript titled Smaller Songs.