Why gild the lily ?
Is it not fair enough
Without the artifice that man, in pride of his
Intelligence and acquired lore,
Thinks will improve the artless loveliness
Conceived in the Creator’s mind?
Here what is beautiful
Lived first in God’s deep dreaming,
The thought that grew into a perfect form,
Needing but care and nurture
In accordance with eternal law.
A gem in truth will flash
Revealing hidden lights by skilful cut,
But set in meretricious fashioning
Is by man’s littleness reduced.
And every flower
Brought to perfection by the light of day,
With bush and tree,
Is by the glorious sun with radiance endowed,
Holy and chaste and somehow virginal.
But in the crude glare of a lurid lamp
That paints the night with an unwonted sheen
Those blooms have an appearance sinister,
And spectral boughs clothed with a ghastly dew
Raise frantic arms to where the very stars
Hide all their diamonds in dismayed retreat.
Mona’s Herald 21.8.62