About the Poem
About the poet
In the 1950s and 60s Ruth Gilbert received more than her fair share of male condescension and...
How steeped in beauty these old names are:
Saffron, Sandalwood, Cinnibar,
Copal, Amber, and Orpiment,
All with colour and some with scent.
Names like music that said or sung
Melt their honey upon the tongue.
Speak them - the scents, the colours stir -
Dragon's blood, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
Crimson, yellow, and orange dyes,
Dazzling the mind, the heart, the eyes ...
Saffron, Sandalwood, Cinnibar
How steeped in beauty these old names are.
from The Luthier: poems (Reed, 1966), © Ruth Gilbert 1966, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Waiata New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 1974.