Time’s Fool – Ruth Pitter

Time’s fool, but not heaven’s: yet hope not for any return.

The rabbit-eaten dry branch and the halfpenny candle

Are lost with the other treasure: the sooty kettle

Thrown away, become redbreast’s home in the hedge, where the nettle

Shoots up, and bad bindweed wreathes rust-fretted handle.

Under that broken thing no more shall the dry branch burn.

Poor comfort all comfort: once what the mouse had spared

Was enough, was delight, there where the heart was at home;

The hard cankered apple holed by the wasp and the bird,

The damp bed, with the beetle’s tap in the headboard heard,

The dim bit of mirror, three inches of comb:

Dear enough, when with youth and with fancy shared.

I knew that the roots were creeping under the floor,

That the toad was safe in his hole, the poor cat by the fire,

The starling snug in the roof, each slept in his place:

The lily in splendour, the vine in her grace,

The fox in the forest, all had their desire,

As then I had mine, in the place that was happy and poor.


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