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Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
When Zuo Fen woke day was well advanced into the Horse hour. In her darkened room a frame of the brightest light pulsed around the shuttered window. A breeze of scents from her herb garden brought sage, motherwort and lovage to cleanse the confined air, what remained of his visit, those rare aromatic oils from a body freed from its robes. Turning her head into the pillow that odour of him embraced her once more as in the deepest and most prolonged kiss , when with no space to breathe passion displaces reason in the mind.
The goat cart had brought him silently to her court in the Tiger hour, as was his custom in these summer days when, tired of his women’s attention, he seeks her company. In the vestibule her maid leaves a bowl of fresh water scented with lemon juice, a towel, her late uncle’s comb, a salve for his hands. Without removing his shoes, an Emperor’s privilege, he enters her study pausing momentarily while Xi-Lu removes himself from the exalted presence, his long tail *****, his walk provocative, dismissive. Zuo Fen is at her desk, brush in hand she finishes a copy of  ‘A Rhapsody for my Lord’. She has submitted herself to enter yet again that persona of the young concubine taken from her family to serve that community from which there seems no escape.
I was born in a humble, isolated, thatched house,
And was never well-versed in writing.
I never saw the marvellous pictures of books,
Nor had I heard of the classics of ancient sages.
I am dim-witted, humble and ignorant,
But was mistakenly placed in the Purple Palace . . .

He loves to hear her read such words, to imagine this fragile girl, and see her life at court described in the poet’s elegant characters. Zuo Fen’s scrolls lie on his second desk. Touching them, as he does frequently, is to touch her, is to feel mystery of her long body with its disregard of the courtly customs of his many, many women; the soft hair on her legs, the deep forest guarding her hidden ***, her peasant feet, her long fingers with their scent of ink and herbs.
He kneels beside her, gradually opening his ringed hand wide on her gowned thigh, then closing, then opening. A habit: an affectation. His head is bent in an obeisance he has no need to make, only, as he desires her he does this, so she knows this is so. She is prepared, as always, to act the part, or be this self she has opened to him, in all innocence at first, then in quiet delight that this is so and no more.
‘A rhapsody for me perhaps?’
‘What does Liu Xie say? The rhapsody is a fork in the road . . .
‘ . . . a different line’, he interrupts and quotes,’ it describes people and objects. It pictures appearance with a brilliance akin to sculpture or painting.’
‘What is clogged and confined it invariably opens. It depicts the commonplace with unbounded charm.’
‘But the goal of the form is beauty well-ordered . . . . as you are, dearest poet.’
‘You spoilt the richness of Lui Xie’s ending . . .’
‘I would rather speak of your beauty than Xie’s talk of gardening.’
‘Weeding is not gardening my Lord.’
And with that he summons her to read her rhapsody whilst his hands part her gown . . .
Over the years since he took her maidenhead, brusquely, with the impatience of his station, and she, on their second encounter deflowered him in turn with her poem about the pleasure due to woman, they had become as one branch on the same tree. She sought to be, and was, his equal in the prowess of scholastic memory. She had honed such facility with the word: years of training from her father in the palace archives and later in the mind games invented by and played with her brother. Then, as she entered womanhood and feared oblivion in an arranged marriage, she invented the persona of the pale girl, a fiction, who, with great gentleness and poetry, guided the male reader into the secrets of a woman’s ****** pleasure and fulfilment. In disguise, and with her brother’s help, she had sought those outside concubinage - for whom the congress of the male and female is rarely negotiable. She listened and transcribed, then gradually drew the Emperor into a web of new experience to which he readily succumbed, and the like of which he could have hardly imagined. He wished to promote her to the first lady of his Purple Chamber. She declined, insisting he provide her with a court distant from his palace rooms, yet close to the Zu-lin gardens, a place of quiet, meditation and the study of astronomy.
But today, this hot summer’s day, she had reckoned to be her birthday. She expected due recognition for one whose days moved closer to that age when a birthday is traditionally and lavishly celebrated. Her maid Mei-Lim would have already prepared the egg dishes associated with this special day. Her brother Zuo-Si may have penned a celebratory ode, and later would visit her with his lute to caress his subtle words of invention.
Your green eyes reflect a world apart
Where into silence words are formed dew-like,
Glistening as the sun rises on this precious day.
As a stony spring washes over precious jade,
delicate fishes swim in its depths
dancing to your reflection on the cool surface.
No need of strings, or bamboo instruments
When mountains and waters give forth their pure notes . . .

Her lord had left on her desk his own Confucian-led offering, in brushstrokes of his time-stretched hand, but his own hand nevertheless, and then in salutation the flower-like character leh (joy)
‘Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart’.
Meanwhile Xi-Lu stirred on the coverlet reminding Zuo Fen that the day was advancing and he had received no attention or conversation. It was whispered abroad that this lady spoke with her cat whom each afternoon would accompany his mistress on a walk through the adjacent gardens. It was true, Zuo Fen had taught Xi-Lu to converse in the dialect of her late mother’s province, but that is another story.
Lying on her back, eyes firmly shut, Zuo Fen surveyed the past year, a year of her brother’s pilgrimage to the Tai Mountains, his subsequent disappearance at the onset of winter, her Lord’s anger then indulgence as he allowed her to seek Zuo Si’s whereabouts. She thought of her sojourn in Ryzoki, the village of stone, where she discovered the blind servant girl who had revealed not only her brother’s whereabouts but her undying love for this strange, ungainly, uncomfortably ugly man who, with the experience gained from his sister’s persistent research had finally learned to love and be loved in equal measure for his gentle and tender actions. And together, their triumph: in ‘summoning the recluse’, and not one alone but a community of five living harmoniously in caves of the limestone heights. Now returned they had worked in ever secret ways to serve their Emperor in his conflict against the war-lord Tang.
She now resolved to take a brief holiday from this espionage, her stroking of the Emperor’s mind and body, and those caring sisterly duties she so readily performed. She would remove herself and her maid to a forest cabin: to lie in the dry mottled grass of summer and listen to the rustle of leaves, the chatter of birds, the sounds of insects and the creak-crack of the forest in the summer heat. She would plan a new chapter in her work as a poet and writer: she would be the pale girl no longer but a woman of strength and confidence made beautiful by good fortune, wise management and a generosity of spirit. She needed to prepare herself for her Lord’s demise, when their joyful hours living the lives of Prince and Lady of Xiang, he with his stallion gathering galingales, she with her dreams of an underwater house, would no longer be. She would study the ways of the old. She would seek to learn how peace and serenity might overcome those afflictions of age and circumstance, and when it is said that love’s chemistry distils pure joy through the intense refinement of memory.
This short story with poetry introduces the world of Zuo Fen, one of the first female poets of Chinese antiquity.
CK Baker Mar 2019
~ Ode to Spring ~

Cherry blossoms filled with bloom
rhododendron’s sweet perfume
warming winds feign summer’s breeze
songbirds singing from the trees

Open windows, déjà vu
sunsets filled with graceful hues
families gather on their strolls
Mother Nature for the soul

Baseball season at the park
evenings lifted from the dark
daylight savings' finally here
patios for wine and beer

Cleaning house and planting seeds
rebirth fills the days and deeds
picnic baskets, hummingbirds
poets find their way in words

Kaleidoscope of bedding plants
shorts in favour over pants
farmers markets, garage sales
power-wash the decks and rails

Hiking, tennis, gardening
inhale the freshness of the spring!
painters, sculptors shape their art
gather here with grateful hearts
Nishu Mathur Dec 2016
Today, I am gardening my life,
I'll root out  worrisome weeds,
Those thoughts that trouble me,
Cast them aside, those I'd never need.

I'll cut the grass of discontent
Layer it even, soft, green and sweet,
Smoothen  the furrows,
So I can run content, bare feet.

I'll water seeds planted with love,
Of friends made this year,
Friendships that bloomed,
That make life special, worth living and dear.

I'll welcome  butterflies,
And make homes for nesting birds,
With them, taste sun's ambrosia,
Soar and see the world.

I'll bask in the rainbow of colors,
Of blossoms brilliant bright,
And keep them sheltered,
When they sleep at night.

I'll capture the scented essence,
Of roses, jasmines and lilies
Place them in a jar,
My fragrant memories.

I'll love; rest and spend more time,
Under the shade of the  family tree,
Cherish every moment, every minute,
' Neath its precious canopy.

And I'll buy new saplings,
Sow them all carefully  in a row,
Of hopes, promises to me and mine,
And tend to them, make them grow
Suicidal Aug 2014
I planted a seed of hatred inside of me,
Hoping it would grow,
Hoping the roots would be the beginning of the end,
To the repetitive thud in my chest
Siththa May 2015
To the man who made me who I am

Being with you was like learning without a textbook
I just watched and copied and made it my own
From gardening to maths
You made me my own genius

I didn't have to speak for you to know what was wrong
You didn't judge me for the silly things I said
Or how I never learnt at school
You taught me to teach my self

You were my Mr Miyagi
With less riddles more jokes
I learnt that laughter can flood rooms like tidal waves
And we were leaves to float in it

And now you're gone I wont mourn
You would tell me to stop crying and cut my hair
I will use laughter to put a smile on raggedy dolls
And the stories to keep the dark days down

Thank you for being the Godfather of giggles
Making Sunday dinners not the day to fear Mondays
Having gardening not be a chore but a way to think
Rest well Granddad.
Cheryl Sep 2013
The Wonderful Place to be Relax
Is like a beach
The Wonderful Place to Relaxing
And playing every day

The Wonderful Place to be Relax
Is like a garden
We can gardening
Every plant we want

The Wonderful place to be Relax
Is like The lake
We can gymnastics in the morning
And running on the edge of a lake

I like The Wonderful place to relax
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2013
There are times in life
when a man needs change,
And I don't mean,
dimes and quarters.

Remember when you
were just sixteen,
Driving all alone, solo,
in your old man's Buick?
All the windows down,
radio music blaring,
Your bare arm draped
out over the side of the door.
to better exhibit your bicep.

Hell mister, no doubt,
you were ten feet tall,
the king of the road.
Ever wish you had,
that feeling back again?

Cars were always my thing.
I owned some Detroit
Muscle, Full blown Chevy,
Firebird 400, Chrysler Hemi.
Smoked some tires and
went to Court a time or two.
Of course all that was long
ago in my fitter youth.

When I became a Yuppie
I acquired a Poodle Puppy,
a Porsche and a MGB.

But the ***** does turn.
and so then, did I,
And my road got,
a little bumpy.

Along came marriage,
then a baby carriage.
And a big house
In the Burbs.

Then came a progression
Of Volvo Station Wagons,
to Soccer Dad Mini Vans,
to large SUV's.
All for hauling,
any number of things.
Kids and dogs, strollers,
bikes, kites and scooters,
Fellow car poolers,

And less we forget,
"Pulling" things too.
Boats, RV's, Utility trailers,
and all nature of landscape,
gardening, and general
shopping paraphernalia.
Little League Teams,
Drooling big dogs,
Papier Mache Volcanos.
Home Coming Floats,
Once even a Goat
You name it, I hauled it,
Or pulled it!

Years rolled by,
eventually the Kids
flew the nest, got married.
And low and behold,
The wife and I split,
Each going our separate way.
No one's fault, just grew apart.
The thinly veiled allegorical
Previous Patriarchal
arrangement became,
A whole new start,
A workable self allegiance
to just one.

Soon once more, I was the MAN.
I ran out, bought a **** boat
But not having the kids around,
Soon sold it, having found out,
that alone, I was not a water sport.

I caroused around, dated women,
got my pockets picked,
learned a few lessons.
Fell in love, fell out again,
Took a few pretty good blows,
Right on the chin,
Even some down lower.

Round about then,
An Epiphany kicked in.
Remembered my most,
ennobling, happy events,
behind the wheel,
driving Dad's Buick.

As I stepped on the lot.
There was never doubt,
There was only one choice,
I just had to have that,
Little VW Bug Red Racer.

Nothing like your Mother's
Beetle, the engine's up front,
Not stuck in the trunk,
And man it produces over,
200 Big Time Horsepower
Not to mention,
Lays rubber in three,
Of six gears.
Getting all the while,
33 miles per gallon.

Receiving additional help,
from a sweet Turbo Booster,
Just like a big, Indy Track Bruiser.

There's 19 inch racing
tires and alloy wheels,
They look so cool,
Spinning in motion.

Dual stainless steel exhausts,
And best of all,
a cool collapsible,
Convertible top.

Rack and Pinion steering,
Handles like a sports car,
Yet still offers a backseat
To take my Grandkids,
out for a spin.

Dude, it's got,
All the bows
and whistles!

Top Down Driving is such a thrill,
Makes me feel sixteen again.
The open road, the sky above,
The wind blowing thru my hair,
what there is of it.

Perhaps the only thing that
Could possibly make this
Driving experience greater,
Would be to speed down,
The road, going eighty,
Behind the wheel of my
Little Red Racer,
Completely **** naked,
And of course all the while,
Feel the wind in my hair.

I don't know, I'm too old,
To call this a mid life crisis.
But on the other hand,
Maybe the acquiring of
This little red sporty car,
Has something to do with,
Those Testosterone shots I'm taking.
I'm even thinking, of dying my hair,
naw, lets not get crazy!
Jak Nov 2014
your fingers planted seeds everywhere you touched me
you watered them by whispering into my ears
and flowers sprouted from my spine each time you kissed me
Ottar Jun 2015
grasses brown up nice,
this time of year, Sun slices,
through the spaces of
branches and the love-
ly leaves, shadow seekers,
and sun bathers wait on,
the changing dark shape,
to place their bodies and at
by the end of the day
such justifies the means,
while buckets of water
empty and fill and liquid
pill fertilizer, is a miser
of plant health, wealth
and chaotic growth,
you can't control your
eating or time,
so why should a ****,
heed the call to stop,
why should a plant,
slow down instead,
cant toward the Sun
you worship or hide
your hide from, and
your dog or cat, just
lays about the place,
licks your nose or face,
serve wine over ice and
take a couple of ice cubes
from a heart, that there
is never a chance of thaw,
at the temperature of dry
ice and dry eyes that will
not shed tears, will not
shuck fears, like oysters,
on the life that is a beach,
rip tides,
confide and confounded,
leave the corpse in the sand
until the waves have pounded
knowledge of gardening and
gardens of life, go on live
beyond the strife, soften the
take on ****(s).
I guess a month is a hiatus, nope, been doing IG, not even thinking about HP, surprises coming within six y'all.
Claudia Ramirez Dec 2012
I begin to wonder into gardening, so many flowers to choose from
My first try was not the best, even though I tried really hard  
It almost seem like they hated me, they looked lovely but they had a deathly poison
It did not get easier, but I learned a few things a long the way as this passion continued.

Then one day, when I was going to give up I found a flower
Maybe not the pretties but with time it bloom in to something my heart could not believe
Something that let me know that my hand could do something
And let my plant know that there was love.

Things got rough and I had to travel and could not take my garden of Darwinias
I tried to give them the same love but they started to slowly die
Every now and then they do respond well. I just hope they can me it till I get back
But I too started to lose my hope…
They are in my mind very often but I’ve started to look for a new flower

I got blinded once again; I choose the flowers that would not bloom
I tried to find something that could compare to my Darwinia but nothing ever could
The Kerria japonica came in to my way with its bright yellow and made my heart stop
I still love my original garden but this; this just took my breath away it made my soul feel warm
They could not just grow anywhere
gardening time is here time to get the seed
clean up all the borders pulling out the ****
time to the get compost so the plants will grow
put them in the greenhouse till they begin to show
keep them nice warm turn the heaters on
then put them in the garden when all the frost as gone
time to mow the lawn cut it nice and neat
then sit down and relax on the garden seat
Joe Halliday Aug 2019
I met a gorilla
In a jungle
Of native species

She kept her oxeye
Daisy on me the whole time

A cowslips past unnoticed
By the blush red columbine

Lily of the valley was
Sporting a foxes glove

The cornflower and the cardinal
Seek guidance from above

A swamp of soured milk weeds
Seeps past your eyes

The firmly rooted ragged robin
Looks up awestruck at the skies

The bergamot was wild
Running circles round the yarrow

Black eyed Susan moped along
With her bluebell filled wheelbarrow

Good dogwood sets paw after paw
Creeping through the common nettle

As lance-leaved coreopsis
Charges in to test his mettle

I left a gorilla
In a jungle
Of native species
Doug Potter Sep 2016
I realize  that when you asked me to  feed your two calicos
while vacationing, I wasn’t given title to  pluck four large
tomatoes  from  your perfectly trained  vines.

The tomatoes were Christmas red, unbruised
and husky. It seemed criminal and unfair
to my palate not to devour them
by dusk the day I stole them;

in my shallow defense
both of your cats
repeatedly hissed
at me when fed.
O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw
The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud,
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be revenged on men,
Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now,
While time was, our first parents had been warned
The coming of their secret foe, and ’scaped,
Haply so ’scaped his mortal snare:  For now
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:
Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
And like a devilish engine back recoils
Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him; for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place:  Now conscience wakes despair,
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;
Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heaven against Heaven’s matchless King:
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then
O, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition!  Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But Heaven’s free love dealt equally to all?
Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
O, then, at last relent:  Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
The Omnipotent.  Ay me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
With diadem and scepter high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery:  Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore?  Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall:  so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear;
Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven’s King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear.  Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:
Yet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
Access denied; and overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;                        

Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landskip:  And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair:  Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils.  As when to them who fail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
Of Tobit’s son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet.  As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o’er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o’er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God’s fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
Of immortality.  So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature’s whole wealth, yea more,
A Heaven on Earth:  For blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Of where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar:  In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained;
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Watered the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy errour under pendant shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierced shade
Imbrowned the noontide bowers:  Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste:
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o’er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
Down the ***** hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams.
The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal Spring.  Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea’s eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus’ head, enclosed with shining rock,
A whole day’s journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange
Two of far nobler shape, ***** and tall,
Godlike *****, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their *** not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valour formed;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of nature’s works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banished from man’s life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair,
That ever since in love’s embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down; and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they.  About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us’d,
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam’d. I now must change
Those notes to tragick; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death’s harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument
Not less but more heroick than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d;
Or Neptune’s ire, or Juno’s, that so long
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea’s son:                        

If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse:
Since first this subject for heroick song
Pleas’d me long choosing, and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroick deem’d chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havock fabled knights
In battles feign’d; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroick martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon’d shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshall’d feast
Serv’d up in hall with sewers and seneshals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroick name
To person, or to poem.  Me, of these
Nor skill’d nor studious, higher argument
Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress’d; and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.
The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
“twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night’s hemisphere had veil’d the horizon round:
When satan, who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv’d
In meditated fraud and malice, bent
On Man’s destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless returned
From compassing the earth; cautious of day,
Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried
His entrance, and foreworned the Cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven,
The space of seven continued nights he rode
With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line
He circled; four times crossed the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth returned; and, on the coast averse
From entrance or Cherubick watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way.  There was a place,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid; sea he had searched, and land,
From Eden over Pontus and the pool
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctick; and in length,
West from Orontes to the ocean barred
At Darien ; thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: Thus the orb he roamed
With narrow search; and with inspection deep
Considered every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found
The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed,
Doubt might beget of diabolick power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured.
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
For what God, after better, worse would build?
Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence!  As God in Heaven
Is center, yet extends to all; so thou,
Centring, receivest from all those orbs: in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man.
With what delight could I have walked thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea and shores with forest crowned,
Rocks, dens, and caves!  But I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries: all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven’s Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe;
In woe then; that destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among
The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps
Not longer than since I, in one night, freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
The angelick name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: He, to be avenged,
And to repair his numbers thus impaired,
Whether such virtue spent of old now failed
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
Determined to advance into our room
A creature formed of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,
With heavenly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed,
He effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounced; and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service angel-wings,
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance
I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find
The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained
Into a beast; and, mixed with ******* slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the highth of Deity aspired!
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to?  Who aspires, must down as low
As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last,
To basest things.  Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils:
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid.
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on
His midnight-search, where soonest he might find
The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,
His head the midst, well stored with subtile wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,
Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth
The Devil entered; and his brutal sense,
In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.
Now, when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe,
From the Earth’s great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And joined their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs:
Then commune, how that day they best may ply
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew
The hands’ dispatch of two gardening so wide,
And Eve first to her husband thus began.
Adam, well may we labour still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild.  Thou therefore now advise,
Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present:
Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,
In yonder spring of roses intermixed
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
For, while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on; which intermits
Our day’s work, brought to little, though begun
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned?
To whom mild answer Adam thus returned.
Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear!
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed,
How we might best fulfil the work which here
God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass
Unpraised: for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study houshold good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet *******
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow,
To brute denied, and are of love the food;
Love, not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
He made us, and delight to reason joined.
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us; But, if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:
For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest
What hath been warned us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantage, us asunder;
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need:
Whether his first design be to withdraw
Our fealty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.
To whom the ****** majesty of Eve,
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus replied.
Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth’s Lord!
That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn,
And from the parting Angel over-heard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers.
But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fearest not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced;
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam replied.
Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong,
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could ******
Angels; nor think superfluous other’s aid.
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reached,
Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?
So spake domestick Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed.
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straitened by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met;
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise proved false; find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event.
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed
Alone, without exteriour help sustained?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combined.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.
To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
O Woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordained them: His creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less Man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reason, is free; and Reason he made right,
But bid her well be ware, and still *****;
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised,
She dictate false; and mis-inform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins,
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve;
Since Reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suborned,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned.
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve
First thy obedience; the other who can know,
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But, if thou think, trial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest,
Go; for thy stay, not fre
Lyn-Purcell Sep 2018
~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
Out of the Palace, into the Queen's
Garden. 'One that could rival King
Paul's Luciuscemian Gardens,'
thinks as she walks under the high
cream arches and Grecian columns
with ivy vines coiling around them.
She stands on the white marble
steps. 'Truly, this is the Queen
Mother's finest work yet...'

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
The young Queen Lyn spares no
expense in expanding her library,
filling it with leather-bound books
and scrolls, new and old. She spares
no expense when it comes to her
love for herbal teas, near and far...
But her mother?

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
The Queen Mother is known for
her keen eye, fast wits, bladed
tongue and for her love for fashion,
gardening and a frugal nature.
'Like frugal mother, like bookish
Ainhara can not help
but to chuckle.

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
She watches as the gardeners trim
the mint-green grass, beech hedges
and shrubby. But what Ainhara
marvels most are the flowers.
Pots of lavender and roses,
rosemary and mint are placed
around carefully, by the white
lilies, orange lilies, yellow lilies,
flushing lilies.

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
She notices that green lilies and
blue lilies; the gifts from Queen Yidna;
plants native to her Puhan Kingdom,
are in full bloom. They remind her of the
colours of the Seas that she, Esshi and Lyn
had sailed when they visited Queen Yidna.
'Puhan has the calmest seas of the brightest
She recalls how her Queen was
happy and relaxed then...
Part 2 completed! ^^
Lyn ***
I never really liked gardening before
But I needed to fix up the one down back
It was getting like an empty space
Behing my appartment on a track

I'm only young so much to be done
And an old gardener saw me there
Came over and said need a hand
Goodness yes as I pinned back my hair

Wasn't long and I loved gardening so
Older gardeners they really do know
How to get it all as I'd dreamed some
And how to make it beautiful and grow

Now I'm in that garden every chance
And when he sees me he will call around
I have a secret or two just how it all grew
Among my lemon grass upon the ground

terrence michael sutton
copyright 2018
Wished to god I could add pics on this site
JM May 2013
With a flutter of joy
comes a deep red on her cheeks,
neck and collarbones follow suit.

Our creek and the sky
and the earth
and the birds
give us all the
answers so let us find
other uses for our tongues.

Together in this
quiet and safe
garden we have created,
we will share our secrets
with the flowers
and listen to the stories
of earthworms.

We will give
the soil
small tastes of ourselves
under Luna's smile.

Let us drink deep
from this water
cold and clear
and become one
under the mighty
Cottonwood trees.
I remember our garden,
Wild and beautiful.
Flowers snaked out over cracked paths,
Overgrown orchids and unruly dahlias
Crossed calla lilies,
As they protruded through the jungle
Of luscious foliage.

I remember the smell of jasmine.
It hung heavy in the thick summer air,
Heady and delicious. It was the sweetest
Intoxication and my Mother basked in it.

She would sit for hours under
The old mango tree, cigarette
Smoke coiling around her
As she watched the sun steadily
Disappear behind grey islands.

I longed to reach out to her.
To break her trance,
And infiltrate her thoughts.
I wanted to her to take me with her
Into those private moments.
I didn’t understand it then.

I remember the tune she would hum.
Those long, low notes, penetrating
From her soul.
As I put the silverware away, I hum it.
I hum it in memory of my indigo life,
Turned magnolia.

How I long for that mango tree now,
A hundred years old. His strong
Arms stretched around me,
And my own private moments.

Through the double-glazed windows,
I watch my husband gardening
And wonder. Should I bring him a glass of
Ice-cold lemonade, like
The wives on American TV?
Arlene Corwin Aug 2016
Gardening The Forest:  A Work In Progress

I garden the forest.

Walking everywhere – like Johnny Appleseed –

I keep my excellent Swedish clippers at my side,

And when I eye a roadside tree

With branch too low, so’s I can see,

I make the lower branches go,

Prune and clear selectively,

Clip high as I can reach,


Being five foot one

And using muscle of the female kind,

Is always kind to undergrowth,

Seduced by ‘further’,

Blazing paths that never were,

So light can filter through.

It wants for sun. It makes for light.

The woods and I are one;

But I can’t tell a soul.

Wandering on until de-celeration

Starts to take me over,

Signs I’ve learned to recognize

When fervor starts to waver

And observer me says “Rest!”

Works in progress never cease.

It is a forest,

After all.

Work In Progress: Gardening The Forest 11.28.2006 revised 1.18.2014/again 4.20.2015

Circling Round Nature; Circling Round Nature II:
I live in Sweden in the country, surrounded by forest.  I love it.  It changes all the time.
Jimmy King Aug 2013
I sit in the soil
With a ***** driver,
Too coated in Earth
To ever fix
Anything again,
And I eat a carrot
Taken from the ground
While, like Adam,
Only with modern
Like ***** drivers-
I wonder about
What would’ve been
If Eve had just
Liked carrots
And not apples
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
House plants are hostages
we take while we rob  
the bank of life for
all the experience notes we
can carry safely away.

We are using the funds
to build our vivarium
homes, microcosms of
the world beyond our walls
where we first glimpsed
the scheme.

The machinery of the world,
greased by blood and sweat,
remains beyond our control
while at large, yet
under our close supervision
we coax submission
out of our captives for
our own enjoyment:

selfish, ambivalently cruel
benefactors, dispensers of
our plants' waters of life.
nivek May 2014
Wild Gardening:
in it for the bees
and bugs and birds
Olivia Kent Apr 2014
An army of plastic fellows shelter from the pouring rain.
Hiding under shrubs and trees.
Guarding the garden insidiously.
They're on patrol again.
Sat by the pond, musing.
Nattering in their lingo gnome.
Unheard by ears of men.
They watch nature in balance.
Peeping at the trees.
Guarding their mothers security.
Mother Nature gives them trees, and grass and bumble bees.

Go out for a while, come back and smile.
They carried out with precision all the garden chores.
Come rain or shine, they live out doors.
Those gnomes took control of the garden their home.
They leave you a job, you come out with your mower.
They are a touch to small.
They can however, *** and ****.
When they're in your garden, they are, they sow the seeds.
They natter to each other in their own sweet dulcet tones.
After carrying out security.
They're still just garden gnomes!
(c) Livvi
Pigeon May 2015
I like to take care of things, despite the fact that I never could
care for myself
I tend to flower seedlings, little green silent things thriving on the bathroom shelves
They reach upward to the light while my own soul reaches down to...
My spirit withers while I
Sow seeds of zinnia and ox-eye
Poppies spring from fertile ground while I feel like I could die
Cut sprigs of Rosemary and on the same day
put furrows in my skin, I need to
Prioritize, rationalize or soon I'll share the ground they're in
Jordyn Dennis Aug 2014
I love the colors on you,
The beautiful blue in your eyes,
To the purples on your knee,
The brown dirt on your left hand from this afternoon gardening with me,
Just because i begged you to,
The pink in your cheeks that i love so much,
You get so flustered at the smallest things,
I love the brown of your hair that changes direction with the wind,
The summer bronzing of your skin,
Colors i cant describe,
You give me a new color everyday,
But i am so glad theres one color i never see,
and thats gray.

JD (1:58)
If you take the time to look at the one you love with lust, youll learn how many colors make up their beautiful being.
******* !
cannibals and skiers,
labeled solo fashion-istas,
God ****** bull fighters.

Why don't you try
lacrosse or gardening too?

you've inspired my passion,
"turned my art into a science"

i don't understand
punctuation or horoscopes
i know a little bit about a lot of things

and Jesus aint my friend
because i know too much about
him and his stellar clique

and i don't need to know about
crop rotations or biodiversity
to plant an apple tree

maybe i'm "just" inferior

forgive my shortcomings
i'm still exploring
i'm still developing

i may not be in the next
tour de France
but i can ride nine miles in thirty five minutes
i'm pretty **** impressed

so be proud of me mystical guru
cause even though i don't trust in you're miracles
i still think the water in Lourdes is the best I've ever had

forgive my rude outburst
i just cant live on a diet of humans alone

let me tell you a thing or two about my travels
and teach me about beauty
i think i know
but i could be wrong

show me your soul o' barrista
i'm sure you do more than make coffee
bucky Oct 2014
there's blood on my hands, and
liquor on your tongue
this is what true love tastes like
****** in the pews
you are ash exhumed and i'm a lit match
cigarette firepower burning bodies in front of churches
crying holy, holy

are you scared yet?
stars in your eyes, in the palms of your hands
kissing the corpse road
breaths scraping against your ribcage on the way out
someone else's hands in your throat on the way down
crying holy, holy

i want fireproof lungs i want
flowers planted in my eyesockets
make me a garden like no other
oh god, oh god
im coughing up leaves and twigs and
grave markers

(you have a flair for the dramatic
used to hold up pictures of my bleeding gums and say,
you're so beautiful
am i beautiful now, sweetheart?are you?
can you face yourself in the mirror, sweetheart?)

stop it, stop screaming,
you aren't a holy verse
twenty dead roses on a empty coffin, and
four horsemen of the apocalypse, and
death at the bottom of a swimming pool
crying holy, holy
there were no chives, so we hunted for ferns.

they are everywhere here, we wanted something
in particular, me with my green trowel, gardening

she was coming up the lane, head down,
i waited. a steep *****.

on looking up she smiled, and chatted a while.

did you know him? she asked, told me he had
died suddenly.

she went on her way, she has moved house
you know.

we went on looking for a fern, and
found one.
Monica Figueroa Sep 2015
At some point
You stop
.... caring

Tilling those thoughts in your head

Refusing to let doubts seek root

Razing the field
Making yourself equal
With reality

To accept
The inevitable truth:
It doesn’t really matter
Copyright 2015 Monica Figueroa
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
‘This is a pleasure. A composer in our midst, and you’re seeing Plas Brondanw at its June best.’ Amabel strides across the lawn from house to the table Sally has laid for tea. Tea for three in the almost shade of the vast plain tree, and nearly the height of the house. Look up into its branches. It is convalescing after major surgery, ropes and bindings still in place.
Yes, I am certainly seeing this Welsh manor house, the home of the William-Ellis family for four hundred years, on a day of days. The mountains that ring this estate seem to take the sky blue into themselves. They look almost fragile in the heat.
‘Nigel, you’re here?’ Clough appears next. He sounds surprised, as though the journey across Snowdonia was trepidatious adventure. ‘Of course you are, and on this glorious day. Glorious, glorious. You’ve walked up from below perhaps? Of course, of course. Did you detour to the ruin? You must. We’ll walk down after tea.’
And he flicks the tails of his russet brown frock coat behind him and sits on the marble bench beside Amabel. She is a little frail at 85, but the twinkling eyes hardly leave my face. Clough is checking the garden for birds. A yellowhammer swoops up from the lower garden and is gone. He gestures as though miming its flight. There are curious bird-like calls from the house. Amabel turns house-ward.
‘Our parrots,’ she says with a girlish smile.
‘Your letter was so sweet you know.’ She continues. ‘Fancy composing a piece about our village. We’ve had a film, that TV series, so many books, and now music. So exciting. And when do we hear this?’
I explain that the BBC will be filming and recording next month, but tomorrow David will appear with his double bass, a cameraman and a sound recordist to ‘do’ the cadenzas in some of the more intriguing locations. And he will come here to see how it sounds in the ‘vale’.
‘Are we doing luncheon for the BBC men? They are all men I suppose? When we were on Gardeners’ World it was all gals with clipboards and dark glasses, and it was raining for heaven’s sake. They had no idea about the right shoes, except that Alys person who interviewed me and was so lovely about the topiary and the fireman’s room. Now she wore a sensible skirt and the kind of sandals I wear in the garden. Of course we had to go to Mary’s house to see the thing as you know Clough won’t have a television in the house.’
‘I loath the sound of it from a distance. There’s nothing worse that hearing disembodied voices and music. Why do they have to put music with everything? I won’t go near a shop if there’s that canned music about.’
‘But surely it was TV’s The Prisoner that put the place on the map,’ I venture to suggest.
‘Oh yes, yes, but the mess, and all those Japanese descending on us with questions we simply couldn’t answer. I have to this day no i------de-------a-------‘, he stretches this word like a piece of elastic as far as it might go before breaking in two, ‘ simply no I------de------a------ what the whole thing was about.’ He pauses to take a tea cup freshly poured by Amabel. ‘Patrick was a dear though, and stayed with us of course. He loved the light of the place and would get up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the mountains at the back of us.’
‘But I digress. Music, music, yes music . . . ‘ Amabel takes his lead
‘We’ve had concerts before at P. outside in the formal gardens by AJ’s studio.’ She has placed her hands on her green velvet skirt and leans forward purposefully. ‘He had musicians about all the time and used to play the piano himself vigorously in the early hours of the morning. Showing off to those models that used to appear. I remember walking past his studio early one morning and there he was asleep on the floor with two of them . . .’
Clough smiles and laughs, laughs and smiles at a memory from the late 1920s.
‘Everyone thought we were completely mad to do the village.’ He leans back against the gentle curve of the balustrade, and closes his eyes for a moment. ‘Completely mad.’
It’s cool under the tree, but where the sunlight strays through my hand seems to gather freckles by the minute. I am enjoying the second slice of Mary’s Bara Brith. ‘It’s the marmalade,’ says Amabel, realising my delight in the texture and taste, ‘Clough brought the recipe back from Ceylon and I’ve taught all my cooks to make it. Of course, Mary isn’t a cook, she’s everything. A wonder, but you’ll discover this later at dinner. You are staying? And you’re going to play too?’
I’m certainly going to play in the drawing room studio on the third floor. It’s distractingly full of paintings by ‘friends’ – Duncan Grant, Mondrian, Augustus John, Patrick Heron, Winifred Nicholson (she so loved the garden but would bring that awful Raine woman with her). There’s  Clough’s architectural watercolours (now collectors want these things I used to wiz off for clients – stupid prices – just wish I’d kept more behind before giving them to the AA – (The Architectural Association ed.) And so many books, first editions everywhere. Photographs of Amabel’s flying saucer investigations occupy a shelf along with her many books on fairy tales and four novels, a batch of biographies and pictures of the two girls Susan and Charlotte as teenagers. Susan’s pottery features prominently. There’s a Panda skin from Luchan under the piano.
These two eighty somethings have been working since 8.0am. ‘We don’t bother with lunch.’ Amabel is reviewing the latest Ursula le Guin. ‘I stayed with her in Oregon last May. A lovely little house by the sea. Such a darling, and what a gardener! She creates all the ideas for her books in her garden. I so wish I could, but there’s just too much to distract me. Gardening is a serious business because although Jane comes over from Corrieg and says no to this and no to that and I have to stand my corner,  I have to concentrate and go to my books. Did you know the RHS voted this one of the ten most significant gardens in the UK? But look, there’s no one here today except you!’
No one but me. And tea is over. ‘A little rest before your endeavours perhaps,’ says Clough, probably anxious to get back to letter to Kenzo Piano.
‘Now let’s go and say hello to the fireman,’ says Amabel who takes my arm. And so we walk through the topiary to her favourite ‘room’,  a water feature with the fireman on his column (mid pond). ‘In memory of the great fire, ‘ she says. ‘He keeps a keen eye on the building now.’ He is a two-foot cherub with a hose and wearing a fireman’s helmet.
The pond reflects the column and the fireman looks down on us as we gaze into the pool. ‘Health, ‘ she says, ‘We keep a keen eye on it.’
The parrots are singing wildly. I didn’t realise they sang. I thought they squawked.
‘Will they sing when I play?’ I ask.
‘Undoubtedly,’ Amabel says with her girlish smile and squeezes my arm.
This is a piece of fantasy. Clough and Amabel Williams-Ellis created the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales. I visited their beautiful home and garden ten miles away at Brondanw in Snowdonia and found myself imagining this story. Such is the power of place to sometimes conjure up those who make it so.
Dorothy A Aug 2012
I don't adhere to it
But I do believe
We reap what we sow

One cannot expect to have peace
When one has sown nothing but discord
Anymore than one can expect a golden crop of corn
When the planter has actually sown beans

And roots of bitterness will sure grow deep and destructive
When not thoroughly torn out of the ground
For a thriving garden must be rid of invading seedlings 
Of anything that does not foster, but fights its growth

To reap an abundant harvest
Sometimes, it is starting all over from scratch
For we've all been guilty of poor gardening
Have failed as farmers to one degree or another

You wanted succulent peaches
But you got shriveled prunes
You wanted wheat
But you got weeds

To produce a healthy garden
The fruit of forgiveness must grow as freely
As wildflowers in a field
Row upon row of compassion and love

An orchard of plenty for the desperate in need
Is the most rewarding harvest to reap
It will quench the terrible thirst
And satisfy the yearning soul
Tom McCone Dec 2012
say something or just
keep on makin' ghost-patterned, intervening silences,
or half-murmuring
                                 verses, those ones from slow songs under low light,
the same refrain that runs between all the others,
through the passage of weeks, stained tobacco sweet by eleven-thirty iterations;

                       [post-meridian or particulate matters only,
                                                                           of course,
                                                                        it's hard to wake before noon anymore.]

with the way these rhythms keep us down
                                                          and out,
counting the methods-
the summations of potential miseries,
and the probabilities that all would or could turn around, before the end of the week.
                                                                                        or the next one.

outside the door, the one after that,
                                       over the acres of concrete and pale shade,
streetlit likenesses hushing air through melting neighbourhoods,
                                                            I make imaginary footprints,
wondering which, of the field of household starlit comforts,
                           is the blade of grass you cast seeds from
to inadvertently germinate and sprout a well of aspiration, the wind in a stranger's ribcage,
                                                                      continually growing, hiccoughing leaf litter,
                 with every last breath.
I couldn't think of a title, which ended up in lawn research
my sister said "I think I'm here", as I embraced another goodbye and I was already opening the door
[this was unnecessary, but I liked the line]
I am tired,
too tired for my own good. and, still, awake.
It has been another day.
Like any other.
Redshift May 2013
three sets of withered, wrinkly hands
with chipped
pale-pink nailpolish
flutter in the air,

three froofy perms
one browny-gray
one white
one salt and pepper
jutting forward,
wobbles a little.

Grandma wears
a green-foam party hat
with a thin, white elastic band
that runs under her wrinkled chin
it sits atop her fuzzy perm
she smiles
at me.

"Ah! my cappuccino! you remembered i like it, didn't you?"
she chucks her great-granddaughter
under the chin,
"oohh! look at these gardening gloves! Cidi! look at these gloves! i like the green ones."
she hands them to her white-haired sister
aunt cidi told me
this year she is
oh, and the gloves were really

aunt cidi
misses uncle harland
he was buried three or four years ago
in his uniform
i remember sitting next to him
at awkward family reunions
eating hotdogs
i never saw so much mustard
in my life
he could never hear me
when i tried to talk to him
but he smiled

the talk turns serious
over our black coffee
crossed legs
and chocolate cake
grandma turns grim
in her lime-green party hat
"did you end up killing that trumpet vine in your yard, Jeanie?"
aunt jeanie's head wobbles a bit
she squints
wrinkles her nose
"i TRIED to!"
she scowls.

schemes of ******
plotted by three chunky-earringed
old ladies
who are a little late
for the 1940's
but never too late
for a handsome
"we're older..."
says aunt jeanie
"but not THAT old!"
they all
Tryst Jul 2014
Headline Story:

Sweet old lady found dead in oven;

Science and Medical:

Prince develops cure for narcolepsy;

Gardening and Leisure:

Giant beanstalk wins first prize;

Duckling takes honors in beauty pageant;


Sorcerers apprentice: You're Fired!
Mike Essig Jun 2015
Weeds are
my favorite plants.
Their bad reputations
attract me the most.
They persevere.
They are successful.
They teach me to disdain
the world's opinions.
They remind me it is good
to be on earth
for no other reasons than
the joy of sunshine and rain.
They live on the edge
where everything
interesting happens.
I am very much a **** myself.
Weeds are something you
can count on to be there.
Not many such anchors
in one life. Take a hold;
pull one out. It will be back.
Count on it.


— The End —