Ave atque Vale

In Memory of a Lost Garden and All that was Within It

by James Stevens Curl (September 2022)

Broken Urn in an Overgrown Garden, James Stevens Curl


You stood atop the broken stair,
aghast, beside a shattered urn,
with sunshine caught within your hair,
a question forming in your eyes,
upon a point of no return,
a bitter, final, wild surmise
that shimmered in the thinning air.

And so you turned, with final sigh,
through screening wall of yellow flowers,
disturbing petals passing by,
on beeswinged shards of yesteryear,
forgetful of the many hours
we shared, so far, and yet so near,
but never knew the reason why.


Table of Contents


Professor James Stevens Curl is the author of many books, including The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (with Susan Wilson, 2015, 2016), Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism (2018), and Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, & Influences (2022).

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7 Responses

  1. Architecture, art and now poetry, it is always a pleasure to see and read Professor Curl’s work whether excoriating modernist architecture, painting beautifully observed watercolours and now a master of verse.

  2. That was a beautiful poem, James, and I agree with Bob Lane on its mastery of the form. I would add (as I’m sure he would too) that your denunciations of modernism in “Dystopia” rise frequently to the level of fine poetry.

  3. Beautiful words and image, reminding us of the wide cultutral sensibility that underpins Professor Curl’s writing and scholarship.

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