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Prayer in a Garden
Today the world seemed cruel, but evening hours
Were filled with perfume from forgotten flowers.
I saw again familiar filigree
Of moonlight through my lacy Lilac tree;
I heard the robins stirring in their nest;
And saw the path that fairy feet had pressed;
Reflected stars were in my garden pool;
On my warm face the breeze was kind and cool.
The silence seemed to speak, my head was bowed,
Then ramblers that had grown into a cloud
Lifted my eyes that, tear-washed, now could see
The beauty that today was lost to me.
Dear god, who is so near to flowers, and birds,
Be nearer still, as I shall search for words
To thank Thee for the blessings night revealed,
Which through the day discouragement concealed.
-EvA SPARKs TAYLOR
“The flower that walks”, the Indian; said,
And walking spreads its crown-like roots
Through forest glades and upland dales.
Moccasin flower or Lady’s Slipper,
It matters not the name
Or if it be fair white or rose or tiny yellow kind
Tis ever rare and wondrous there
This woodland beauty Bequeathed us from another age.
A Heritage to guard with care
And cherish for posterity
That other eyes in future years
Mav see this Orchid walk the trails
As did our native Indian braves
And shy eyed maidens of the tribe.
-HELEN M. FLEET
WHEN RING THE BELLS
Lightly fall the Rains
On Heads bowed down in Grace,
And now the Summer Sun
Dries each upturned Face.
The Distant Bells are sparkling
And sweeten Lilac air;
Bright Rainbows flowing with the Wind-
The Congregation stares.
Daisies, Bluebells, joined in Prayer
One Summer’s windswept Day,
Knowing God and all his Blessings,
While with the Wind they Sway.
–Dave Vahlberg 6-26-2002
Will to Live
I think of all things that show a zest
For life, the dandelion beats the rest.
The little winged seeds from its white fluff ball
Settle and grow with no urging at all.
Settle in most unlikely places
And soon there’s a crop of dandelion faces.
They are man’s worst pest, but a child’s playthings.
Sometimes I wish I had light down wings
Like a dandelion seed, and could settle at will
On a velvety lawn or a sun-spread hill,
And live with the eagerness and zest
Of the wanton little dandelion pest.
Her petals furled
Gainst chilling wind and rain.
Came sun-and rose disclosed her heart
I have found the treasure
That lies at the Rainbow’s end;
Wealth beyond computing
Is mine to give or lend.
Opals of an April dawn,
Gold of a shimmering noon,
Amethysts of the sunset,
Pearls with the glow of the moon.
Would you like to share it?
There’s more than enough for all
In my Iris Garden
Against a grey stone wall.
-AGNES HAYES POST
This is the garden’s magic,
That through the sunny hours
The gardener who tends it, Himself outgrows his flowers.
He grows by gift of patience,
Since he who sows must know
That only in the Lord’s good time
Does any seedling grow.
He learns from buds unfolding,
From each tight leaf unfurled,
That his own heart, expanding,
Is one with all the world.
He bares his head to sunshine,
His bending back a sign
Of grace, and ev’ry shower becomes
His sacramental wine.
And when at last his labors
Bring forth the very stuff
And substance of all beauty
This is reward enough.
-MARIE NETTLETON CARROLL
Oh, spring came to my garden
And caught it unaware
Wearing just a few old leaves
And a dejected air.
But when spring left my garden,
Its work so deftly done,
Many, many Daffodils
Were dancing in the sun.
-Velma D. BATES.
There’s a grassy slope not far away
Where thousands of Narcissus bloom,
And I catch my breath, as I watch them sway
Tossing their sweet perfume.
Gaily they nod their dear little heads
And smilingly welcome me,
As they spring up fresh from their winter beds,
Eager for company.
Their round white faces fair and clean
Are purer than frost or snow,
And I thank the hands, tho’ now unseen;
That planted them, long ago.
-NORA MC FARLANE
I’ve had the garden tidied up,
As she would have me do.
This little pal who couldn’t stay
To see the season through.
The flowers were her dearest friends,
The garden was her own,
I’ve watched her work, but never knew
The things that she had grown.
Her, catalogues keep coming, and
Her garden magazine;
I run across the queerest names,
And study what they mean,
I read them all, from end to end,
And when the spring is here,
I’ll have a garden just like hers,
As though my wife were near.
Albert H. PEDRICK
Hen and Chickens
The “Hen” is in the’ garden,
And the “Chickens” are there, too;
They’ve traveled far to get here,
Across the ocean blue.
Of course, they do no scratching,
The reason is they can’t;
They’re not like other chickens,
For they are just a plant.
Across the road a garden grew,
And bent among the flowers,
A spare old man stooped to his task
Or he sat and dreamed for hours.
He had slaved away his early youth
In a pharmacy day and night.
A pallid drudge year in, year out,
He was starved for color and light.
He had no time for romance,
He grew to shun mankind.
Too stingy to spend emotion,
He closed his heart and mind.
He reaped the fruits of frustration,
In that dull round of care.
A life out of doors, the learned man said,
Might bring surcease from despair.
The gay nasturtiums stirred his heart,
Velvet dahlias woke his pride
The roses he loved like children,
The lily was his bride.
He left this mortal plane long since,
But the garden calls him still:
He walks there when the moon is low,
A bent form, dim and chill.
-FRANCES STRAWN LIVINGSTON
When a gauzy, purple butterfly,
Softly tilts a golden flower,
It’s cool wings ease the summer flame
As laughter sooths a troubled hour.
-COURTNEY E. Cottam
The twilight comes to cool the. air,
The shadows lengthen on the sod,
Soft breezes blow the garden through,
The leaves and blossoms sway and nod.
On garden path, in sheltering hedge,
In treetops dark and cloudless sky,
The evening birds awake to life,
To stir; to sing and upward fly.
And flowers, warm with summer heat,
Expand to greet the softened light
And shed, to show their gratitude,
A fragrance in the summer night.
Now all is peace. From meadows near
A cooling mist blows o’er the wall
And strangely lonesome in the night
There comes the thrush’s silvery call.
-EDWIN W. PROCTOR
Gay visitors invade the bordered path;
Some rest on ageratum’s downy blue
Some tap the, honeyed dew
Deep in Dresden cups;
Float lazily through shafts of summer sun.
Yellow ones, brown ones,, bronze and midnight blue
Silver stippled, gold edged, In rainbow rendezvous.
One golden day The Artist
Gathered grace and luster and light,
And made in endless surprise,
-THEODOSIA E. Fenner
As lovely as soft bits of fragile crinkled silk,
These rosy blossoms, clustered thick upon the heavy
When shaken by a summer wind,
Drop down in swirling showers,
And drift awhile about the ground;
Then gathered into frothy heaps beneath the hedge,
They spread a frill of rosy lace around the green lawns
– LEDA CLEMENTS
The Gardener’s Morning
The robin’s song at daybreak
Is a clarion call to me.Get up and get out in the garden,
For the morning hours flee.
I cannot resist the summons,
What earnest gardener could?
For the golden hours of morning
Get into the gardener’s blood.
The magic spell is upon me,
I’m glad that I did not wait;
For life’s at its best in the morning,
As you pass through the garden gate.
– Howard Dolf
There is no greater loss in life to man,
Than being unaware at early dawn
Of Earth’s awakening from a silver; mist
Shot through with golden threads of breaking morn.
There is no greater sorrow in the world,
Than eyes unseeing, color everywhere,
Or ears unhearing, softly wafted notes
From Nature’s great cathedral of the air.
There is no soul so dead as one of these,
Whose voyage leads through empty life, where hearts
Are veiled in darkness, claiming not the treasures,
Which Nature’s beauty to the world imparts.
-MABEL G. AUSTIN
You who walk,
Maybe with troubled thoughts,
Come, enter here and rest;
And may the sweet serenity of growing things,
And the heavenly peace
Be mirrored in the soul.
-Doxis M. Palmer
Who would a growing thing uproot,
Deny it right to bring forth fruit,
Tears more than beauty from the sod,
He rends his sour in sight of God.
– GEORGIA BERRY HENLEY
The golden sun has gone, the busy day is done.
Twilight has come and with it peace draws near
To dwell an hour .within my garden walls, while in
The lambent sky the first pale stars appear.
The wheeling shadows that so slowly marked the hours
Have left no impress on the tender grass,
Nor does the air hold fast the patterns bold and free
That winging birds weave as the warm days pass.
The red pool is stilled at last, and Lily buds
Prepare to open gently to the night
And to the questing moth whose fragile, gauzy wings
Quiver too rapidly for human sight.
In. this tranquillity, touch, hearing, sight are lulled.
I am as selfless as the scented airs
That wrap me round, while daylight’s drowsy flowers
Send out the fragrance of? their vesper prayers.
-MARIE NETTLETON CARROLL
Our garden in the morning
Is a display of precious gems;
One can see the Roses holding
Shining crystals, jewels hidden
By the fleeing night
Red folds of velvet.
-MILDRED L. ELLIOTT
Above Joppa, in the pasture-land of Sharon,
God set, a Rose
It blossomed, even as the rod of Aaron;
The wild bee gathered honey from its cup . .
And then man came and took the flower up
And labored to improve it, year by year,
A petal there another petal here
A color deeper than the tubes of God
Had furnished, when He set it in the sod,
A leaf more rank, arid varnished thorn and stem
Until, at last, it was a perfect flower,
Fit to adorn even nature’s diadem.
And God looked on, remembering
The hills, of Palestine above the plain
The flower lie set to mark the ages’ dawn,
Root, brier and thorn; and Autumn’s scarlet hip,
And said: ”’Tis well! my work man carries on;
Behold the product of our partnership.”
-FLORENCE Boucle DAMS
Prize Entry-Flower Show
A strange half-folded Lily, white and slim,
Frail mosses leaning on a white bowl’s rim;
Exotic water plants and small white shells
Fashion in miniature a sandless reef.
A Chinese Mandarin of whitest jade
Gazes, unseeing, in scornful disbelief.
Helen BAYLEY DAVIS
(The Huming, Bird)
Feathered fire of emerald .
A flashing through the air,
Its throat a glowing jewel,
A ruby solitaire.
Intrepid wings are whirring
In airy, fairy flight,
Careening through the sunshine,
A scintillating sprite.
Then pendant o’er flower
It dips its dainty hill
And gathers honeyed nectar
From flowery cup and frill.
Now darting, swiftly turning,
It seeks the trumpet vine,
A little tropic jewel
Aflame with nectared wine.
-CORA L. CONE
I slipped into the garden
Almost before ’twas light,
As the lazy sun arose
I glimpsed a charming sight…
Red Poppy flung her cap aside,
Shook out her silken skirt;
The way she danced with a young breeze
Told me she was a flirt!
-MARY C. SHAW
I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart, I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
Would those who lead nations in war and hate
But lay down their guns at some garden gate,
There, bury- their bombs and their bloody deeds,
And join the grand army that’s fighting the weeds.
-ALMA B. Eymann
Walls of gold encircle
Pasturelands and plains,
Rimming hills and meadows, Edging country lanes.
Skirting cloistered forests,
Girdling fen and down,
Bordering the roadsides,
Shutting in the town.
Of the year they hold,
Summer’s garnered gold.
-ELIZABETH E. BARNES
Long years ago devoted folk
Sought Canterbury’s well-known shrine,
That in this church they might invoke
Saint Thomas for a heavenly sign.
And as they trod each rang a bell
For symbol of their pilgrim aim,
While all along the way the spell
Of nodding blossoms caused acclaim.
Today these flowers still are true
To the old title which they bear.
Swinging their bells, pink, white or blue,
With unheard pealings through the air.
–EDITH M. LARRABEE
Won’t you stop a minute
While I note your color?
Dash and flutter thin it;
Trembling makes it duller.
You are like a petal
Summer winds are blowing,
Far too light to settle-
Ah, must you be going?
–EVA WILLES WANGSGAARD
The White Trillium
Trillium graceful, Trillium white,
Star of the woodland, Lady of light
Lo, how she proudly
Stands in the glade,
Queen of the shade.
Stately she rises,
Gracious response to Spring’s early call,
Lifting three leaf-arms
High from the sod,
Gazing with pure face lip at her god.
A warm and cheery fire roars merrily
And shadows dance about the darkened room.
Beside the hearth a gardener sits and dreams
Of sunny days, of flowers in full bloom.
Some hollyhocks should tower near the fence,
Bright red. ones that the bees can’t help but find.
The trellis at the gate again must wear
Blue morning glories, or the rosy kind.
To lend a bit of distance to the scene,
Close to the rear I’ll plant in shades of blue:
The tall and stately larkspur, double ones
Of course I’ll put in scabiosa, too.
I couldn’t do without a pansy bed
Snapdragons make such beautiful bouquets
Frilled zinnias and yellow marigolds
Add just the proper touch to autumn days.
The flowers grow and bloom with loveliness
Until a sound destroys the fantasy
A burning ember falls and I must leave
My garden and my charming reverie.
-HELEN BATH SWANSON
I never let a full day pass
Without a touch of leaf or grass,
And never sunset goes but I
Must cool my lips against the sky.
For life grows acrid as a ‘sloe
As less and less of earth we know;
And life grows hollow as a reed
Without some earth on which to feed.
Earth is no friend we may forget.
For she and man are intimate,
And when the years pile up and leave
The little graves at which we grieve,
He, who has kept this nutrient link
With God, has inner food and drink;
Has more of faith and less of dearth,
And one true friend, the constant Earth.
-EVA WILLES WANGSGAARD
Trees are joy-inspiring
In those first sweet days of May
Stretching forth their lacy tendrils
To entice the lark to stay.
Trees are gracious, charming
When glossed with summer sheen
They catch the vagrant breezes
And spread their shady green. .
And somehow in the Autumn
When the magic touch of time
Has clad these trees in russet-gold
We sense a hand divine.
Yet Trees in winter fascinate
When their gaunt, nude forms arise
And trace in grotesque patterns,
Silhouettes against the skies.
-C. H. BOLTON
The snow upon the hillsides
Makes them like great flour sacks
On which the birds and animals
Have cross-stitched with their tracks.
What Is a Tree?
What is a tree”
Well doubtless he
Who dwells in city streets by choice May never know.
But souls that breathe expanding life outdoors
Know trees as brothers, friends; and feel aglow
With kindred fellowship and common voice.
Yes, bees do know
And birds have made
The trees their lifelong homes
And what is nearer or more intimately ours than home?
What is a tree?
The soul of God!
Whose budding leaves and blossoms in the Spring
Whose shade in Summer cools
The burning heat of life and brings us peace;
Whose bronzing colors in the Autumn landscape glow
With pride of fruitfulness, God’s bounty, man’s maturity.
Whose bare strong arms in Winter steadfast hold
Against- the ice and storms of life when courage sags
When green and sap of youth have lost their bold
Firm power and interest lags.
What is a tree?
Oh! Yes, I know! ‘Tis God.
‘Tis His own way to speak His majesty,
His voice, His power, His love, His mystery..
-G. Thomas DUNLOP
Angels in My Garden
Among my gift begonias
Is one called “Angel-wing”,
So true to form I fancy
I hear the seraphs sing.
For surely higher beings
Inspired the friendly hearts
Of my new next-door neighbors
To give me these “new starts”.
O Angels, hover always
About this garden spot!
Help- me to share life’s blossoms
With those who have them not!
And from your shining wing-tips
Shake fragrance for the hearts
Of beauty-hungry thousands
Today, who need new starts!
He Knows No Winter
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn’s golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring-heralds in the storm’s ‘ turmoil
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil.
-SUDIE STUART HAGER
The Lilt o’ the Year
A melancholy mantle rests
Upon the land; the sea.
The wind in tristful cadence moans
A mournful threnody.
There flits no gleeful insect,
No blithesome bee nor bird;
0’er all the vast of Nature
No joyful sound is heard.
In garments sere and somber
Each vine and tree is clad:
It’s dreary-hearted winter,
And all the earth is sad.
In festal robes, bright garlanded;
A-lilt comes laughing Spring;
From fragrant meadow calls the lark;
The butterfly’s awing;
On hill and plain the wildflowers,
To crown the sweet event,
Have donned, in mood elated,
Their gay habiliment;
In garments viridescent
Each vine and tree is clad
It’s happy-hearted springtime,
And all the earth is glad!
-HAZEL DELL CRANDALL
The dusk has little gateways
That lead to pleasant homes
Enveloped in the soft light
Before the darkness comes.
Each home is in a garden
Alight with vivid blooms,
And there are fragrant posies
In all the restful rooms.
They are so cool and quiet,
After the hectic day,
After the crowded hours
That rush us on our way.
They are the little havens
Where we may turn to sit
And rest us in a leisure
The day could not permit.
In all my garden’s length and breadth
I like these common things
A sturdy, low-branched apple tree
Where, daily, a finch sings;
The clematis that trims: the fence
With garlands of white lace;
The maidenhair and Ostrich ferns
That fill each shady; space;
The fragrance of quaint mignonette
When touched with evening dew
And best of all I like grass pinks
Like those my mother grew.
-VELMA D. BATES
A February wind blows dismally,
The sky is full of dark clouds hanging low,
The garden lies in numbed frigidity
And waits the falling of another snow.
Today, I planted seeds despite the cold,
For my tomato plants will mind it not
Their tiny leaves will presently unfold
At my south window; in a flower pot!
-HELEN BATH SWANSON
Garden: South Freeport
In the garden where your mother
sat mending the torn sail
laundry flaps deliriously.
The boat is in dry dock.
You are sole mistress
of this place, counting
the deer among the asparagus,
bare feet heedless of ticks.
Over the porch, a wasp’s nest breeds
while an oriole pecks the fallen peach.
It is summer once again,
the season at its fevered work—
small calamities in the grass,
weeds encroaching on dianthus,
ant struggling with a skeletal bee,
the rock garden dry and gray.
A trowel gleams in the sun,
but the air is charged with storm.
Gravity pulls the rosy heads down.
It will not do to work today.
From the harbor, unseen, a wind
whips up the speckled iris
and lifts the veiled curtains
of the nonagenarian’s tilting house.
The first drops dampen
the gardener at midlife,
who hefts a basket of weeds,
pausing to take root and stock.
By Michael C. Walker
Oh green, vibrant rich thatch of earth, so perfectly cut, each blade precise;
As tufts of cyan and amber sprout wild and feral in an unruly tangle.
My hapless endeavor, with tool in hand, against weed and root I wrangle.
The sun on my back, ahead drenched in sweat, weariness grows, perhaps heat stroke, or maybe death.
To quench my thirst I reach for one tall glass, though, if it were my druthers, I’d settle for a lawn full of green grass.
“A Gardeners Outlook on Life”
by Laurie Jo DeGrave 2003
Take up the spade with song.
Nurture early on.
Be fervent while you plot.
Chart the spot.
Prune with certainty and care.
Growth stops there.
Patience, patience, time to grow.
Reap what you sow.
Hardly the Garden of Eden?
Thankful for another season.