I have a dim but vivid memory of a poem, 95% sure it was by Edna St. Vincent Millay, about an urban garden alive with beauty despite everything that’s gross about it. Toads, fungus, etc. are the vibe. It is NOT “City Trees” but very much in that vein. I also remember longer lines, e.g. more like the line-lengths of “Recuerdo” than “Daphne”.

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This is the sonnet ‘Still will I harvest beauty where it grows’ (1920) by Edna St Vincent Millay:

Still will I harvest beauty where it grows:
In coloured fungus and the spotted fog
Surprised on foods forgotten; in ditch and bog
Filmed brilliant with irregular rainbows
Of rust and oil, where half a city throws
Its empty tins; and in some spongy log
Whence headlong leaps the oozy emerald frog….
And a black pupil in the green scum shows.
Her the inhabiter of divers places
Surmising at all doors, I push them all.
Oh, you that fearful of a creaking hinge
Turn back forevermore with craven faces,
I tell you Beauty bears an ultra fringe
Unguessed of you upon her gossamer shawl!

Edna St Vincent Millay (1923). The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems, p. 72. London: Harper & Brothers.


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