Reading A Few Late Chrysanthemums I I don’t know whether Betjeman saw chrysanthemums in a florist shop after seasonal flowers had gone; or, simply lingering in a winter garden where some survived frost. Perhaps in nineteen fifty-four they were an antidote to mild despair, some post-war care; the great smog, the nuclear air, the ambiguity of the annual way twenty-five years before the Poet Laureate. This verse styled Medium, Gloom, and Light helped make his name and still is found and bought today. II This summer I looked for the hydrangeas’ blue and mauve, and pink…
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