Rosa's Poetry Archives: In the Garden

"The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We could be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved."
-G.K. Chesterton , 'Orthodoxy'

"The design he (the gardener) imposes must be constantly modified and sometimes totally transformed by a hand stronger than his own-the hand of Nature. Maybe the art of gardening is simply the knowledge of how to hold that hand, and how to clasp it in friendship."
-Beverly Nichols , 'Garden Open Today'

During Monday night's poetry group writing session the above quotes sifted through my head into this poem:

In The Garden

in the garden today
amidst the growth and decay
of bleeding hearts, sorrel
and thyme.

teasing iris root from soil
hands enfolding the alluvial
fingers of my little
dancing sister and I.

pondering this
sacred office;
first given to Adam,
then me:

earth mover, song singer
daisy chain weaver
plant classifier
beckoner of
all insects,
beneficial and benign.

predatory wasps
nymphs & nematodes
ladybirds & lepidoptera:
you are named-
summoned and called forth.

in the garden today,
crowned with laurel and bay,
sits a child of Eden,
subduing the earth
shining like the sun.

(And thanks mum for the Beverly Nichols library cast-off. Whatta score! So that's where I get it ....)


Anonymous said...

excellent! :in the garden today: crowned with laurel and bay: sits a child of Eden: subduing the earth: shining like the sun.

rosa said...

I think I was going for the allusion to the Olympiads, and their god-like status, with this line; contrasting the child of Eden, who has been made in the image of the Creator, the Great God. And we've got a ton of laurel and bay trees. And it rhymed.

Susan Harwood said...

Dear Rosa

I'm wondering if you received my email?


Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.