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These poems, vibrant, clear-eyed, and packed with meaning, were first published by Sidgwick & Jackson (London, 1929) in a volume called From a Garden in the Antipodes. Ursula Bethell, one of New Zealand's great poets (and a particular favourite of the composer), wrote most of her poetry during a 10 year period of intense happiness as, at this stage already in her 50's, she settled in a newly built cottage in the Cashmere hills of Christchurch with her dear friend Effie Pollen.
The poems speak in both painterly and philosophical terms of the garden she created and tended lovingly on the steep, clay slope overlooking the Canterbury Plain and Southern Alps. Effie died suddenly, shortly after Ursula's 60th birthday, leaving the poet to deal with a crisis in the religious faith she expressed so strongly in these poems. She wrote very little poetry after this time.
— from the liner notes of the album Voices of Women (Atoll Records)
I. Sit Down With Me Awhile
V. Easter Bells
Ursula Bethell (1874–1945)