Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"I had a garden once..."

"I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear,
falling on my ear
is the voice of God…and discloses…

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go;
through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known..."

-
     Anne Murray "In the Garden"


I had a garden once
Her lavender bushes
fat with fragrance
splayed willowy limbs
beyond their beds
And spilled
silver leaves and
redolent spikes
Along
a meandering
slate
pathway

Armloads of
pale pink
"Baby Blanket"
roses
threw themselves
across the
top of
our butter
yellow picket fence
and trailed slender fingers full of
tiny perfectly formed
blossoms
towards
the sidewalk
where
lovers walking
hand -in-hand
would
brush against her tiny gifts
breathing in
her aire.

Just after dawn,
morning glories would
uncurl themselves
from sleep and
open their
pale purple
throats
to catch each
drop of
dew
that
fell from heart-shaped leaves
and slaked
a nightlong thirst

I would arrive
tea pot, cup, saucer
and books in
hand
to join them
on our wide
porch
for
My own first
cup of
Water dripping from
leaves…
each page
a cup of refreshment
My version of
a morning glory's
awakening.

One by one…
marigolds,
dusty miller,
sweet peas,
hydrangea
and
hollyhocks
Shake
the dawn and
begin their
daily
pilgrimage
following the
Sun

from east to
west
their heads
turn so
slowly
I am reminded
of Tibetan
nuns
on temple pillows
made of
green
silk

By evening
The white garden
is ready to
unfurl her
quiet
elegant
display
of reflected light

From
beneath the arbor
I can see
delicate
Moonflower,
creamy Campanula,
diaphanous Heath Aster, and
the patient
Impatient
waiting all day
for her moment
to shine

Even the hearty
Daisy looks
like a slip of
lace against
the blue light of
dusk

I had a garden once
Sweet Peas
And tomatoes
sat side by side
tendrils
reaching for one another
through the
picket fence that
held
our summer's bounty
like a disciple's basket…
dinner for
five
And more than enough to
share

Rich soil
stained
my fingernails
Lavender oil stained
my linen apron
Beads of
perspiration
stained my nightgown when
weeding
came before
breakfast
and by noon
small streams...
salty rivulets...
carved pale paths
down
dusty shoulders
and across
a sun-kissed back

There the bees
were my
friends, my colleagues...and I
waged a
miniature war
with aphids and potato mites and
grasshoppers
who thought
my garden
was
a banquet
a feast
a table of plenty

I had a garden once
that
filled my heart
with color
and beauty and
oh, so many firsts
First crop of perennials in their
second season
First warm tomato my
dad hadn't handed me
fresh from the vine
First bundle of lavender from my
own plants
First summer spent weeding before
swimming
First harvest and
canning in my own kitchen…

I returned in secret
one summer...
long after
we had moved on
to other gardens
other arbors and
picket fences
trailing roses

I could barely find her…
but she was there
I had planted her well
and deep
I could see
dry, hard, darkening
rosehips
formed at the
fingertips of
once supple vines on the
other side of
a peeling picket fence
still, but only just, butter yellow
a fence loved so
much that a child
spent
summers nestled with her
best friend
in
the far corner where their worlds
met and
the roots from
an old cottonwood
made a
natural
CrazyCreek for
her to read in.

I could almost
see
Lavender spires
deep purply-blue and
fragrant
springing from the
out-stretched tips of
scraggly gray-green
bushes leaning
frail and un-anchored
along the clapboard
above the stone foundation
just beyond the
porch lattice

I dared to
walk back
and forth in
front of the trellised gate
now free of the weight
of antique roses and
English Ivy
searching for the
scent of
hyacinth I
knew lived
just beneath
the dusty
dry earth at
the
sidewalk's edge

I keened
my ears
for the sound
of butterfly wings
hovering over
hollycocks
once profuse against the
wall of the garden shed
in pinks and
reds and
whites that
shimmered in the
hazy velvet darkness of a
midsummer's twilight

I ached to feel
the rich black soil I
knew was waiting
just inside the
garden gate
where heirloom
tomatoes once
dripped their
rare seeds
at summer's zenith

I had a
garden once
she surrounded a
yellow cottage with
a wide front porch
where I would rock my
daughter to sleep on
summer evenings that buzzed with
Cicadids
hummed with
tree frogs and sparkled with
fireflies
singing lullabies about
a moon that saw us
and the mother we couldn't
see who
sat under an African sun

I had a garden once that
I later visited and
saw what lay beneath the soil but
was invisible to others

I
walked away
clutching a fistful of
her deep
brown
earth
soil stolen from
just inside the
garden gate
filled with
heirloom seeds
and memories of
summers filled
with she and I…and
A chocolate dog with
deep brown eyes
on a wide porch
dripping morning glories
before dawn.
Kate

1 comment:

  1. Debra8:00 PM

    Wow, Kate--what a gift. Thank you for sharing your garden and your poem with us. I am almost there--walking through the gate which must creak slightly--just enough to let you know a friend has come. I had a garden once too--and really, only once. And now, it must be time to cherish the idea of another. Love to you--debra

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