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MARGIE
“Oh, what a thing is life! Well today and gone tomorrow. And how much the death of those around me, makes me prize every happy day that is granted to me”. Extract from Lady Anne Barnard’s diary. Friday July 4, 1800. Cape of Good Hope.

In the garden of the Vineyard,
Two hundred years ago,
Stood Lady Anne the soft and fair,
With sparkling eyes aglow.

She spoke of Dr Johnson,
Whom she’d met in London Town,
Of Nelson and his Emma,
Of the fight at Camperdown.

Of Napoleon the Consul,
And the Battle of the Nile,
Of Mozart and his “Jupiter”,
“Hes now been dead awhile!”

And kneeling down she picked a flower,
And studied it with care;
Then tossing back her golden hair
She whispered: “Live the hour.
For now the sun is shining,
What though the rain will come:
Today is like a rainbow
Which glistens – and is gone”.

In stillness, on the self-same grass,
I watched the sunset’s glow,
And mused on how the years creep pass
On soft and silent toe.

I thought of Dr Johnson,
Whom she’d met in London Town,
Of Nelson and his Emma,
And the fight at Camperdown.

In silence, on the self-same grass,
I picked a sister flower,
And softly, as her feet did pass,
Anne whispered: “Catch the hour.
For beauty lasts but a moment,
And only its perfume stays
To sadden – or gladden – the aching heart
With dreams of long-lost days.
For now the sun is shining,
What though the night will come:
Today is like a rainbow
Which glistens and is – gone”.

Poem and sketch @Thurstan Bassett

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