Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Interlude: The Hesperian Gardens

An interlude from my recent less-than-sanguine posts about the meaning of Life (involving Messrs. Henley, Belloc, and Larkin) is in order.  Fortunately, the Hesperian Gardens are close at hand.  I recently came upon this:

                                     Cadogan Gardens

     Out of the fog a dim figure accosted me.  'I beg your pardon, Sir, but could you tell me how to get to Cadogan Gardens?'
     'Cadogan Gardens?  I am afraid I am lost myself.  Perhaps, Sir,' I added (we two seemed oddly intimate in that white world of mystery together), 'perhaps, Sir, you can tell me where I can find the Gardens I am looking for?'  I breathed their name.
     'Hesperian Gardens?' the voice repeated.  'I don't think I have ever heard of Hesperian Gardens.'
     'Oh, surely!' I cried, 'the Gardens of the Sunset and the singing Maidens!'

Logan Pearsall Smith, More Trivia (1921).

"Hesperian Gardens"  in turn brought to mind a poem by Derek Mahon:

               The Blackbird

One morning in the month of June
I was coming out of this door
And found myself in a garden,
A sanctuary of light and air
Transplanted from the Hesperides,
No sound of machinery anywhere,
When from a bramble bush a hidden
Blackbird suddenly gave tongue,
Its diffident, resilient song
Breaking the silence of the seas.

Derek Mahon, Selected Poems (The Gallery Press/Viking 1991).

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