Archives for posts with tag: gardens

by Ruth Moon Kempher

My Gramma knew the names of all the field
flowers, but I didn’t always listen.  The lavender
lilac was French, she said, which I knew was far off
where there was war, which wasn’t fitting.  Peace—
there were Peace roses in her garden, and Ramblers—
that made sense somehow, since everybody went out
somewhere, but could come home.  Three-Star flag
in her window for three boys, one was for my Dad—
Lily-of-the-Valley and Mock Orange by the porch.
Too long in the south now, where it hardly
grows anything without stickers or violent smell
my favorites were Queen Anne’s Lace and
Dutchman’s Breeches, sometimes called, if I
remember rightly, Butter and Eggs, in lots miscalled
“vacant,” where grasses congregate—bugs
and milkweed pods, oozing moths and butterflies—
the moths that drift, white over dry rows of pea vines
like early snow.  Summer was the best time, then.
Carrot smell, vague, of Queen Anne’s lace
embroidered my days, easy.  Looking up under
its umbrella, kaleidoscope curds, white knurls
on green spokes, turned slowly—Summer
was for hiding then, mostly, looking up.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Moon Kempher, an ex-navy brat who was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, has had her poetry and short prose appear in journals and other periodical publications since 1958, and has published many other people’s work since 1994 through her Kings Estate Press in St. Augustine, Florida. She is retired from owning a tavern and from teaching—first for Flagler College while attaining her BA and graduating with the college’s first class; and later, after achieving her MA at Emory University in Atlanta, in the English Department of St. Johns River Community College. The latest of her thirty-three (mostly small) collections is Key West Papers (Casa de Cinco Hermanos Press, Pueblo, Colorado). Her poetry, including “Queen Anne’s Lace,” will appear in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY (June 21, 2013), a collection of poetry and prose written by over 70 authors from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, and Africa.

PHOTO: “Queen Anne’s Lace” by LupenGrainne — prints are available at

by David Wagoner

Out of the nursery and into the garden   
where it rooted and survived its first hard winter,   
then a few years of freedom while it blossomed,   
put out its first tentative branches, withstood   
the insects and the poisons for insects,   
developed strange ideas about its height   
and suffered the pruning of its quirks and clutters,   
its self-indulgent thrusts   
and the infighting of stems at cross purposes   
year after year.  Each April it forgot   
why it couldn’t do what it had to do,   
and always after blossoms, fruit, and leaf-fall,   
was shown once more what simply couldn’t happen.   

Its oldest branches now, the survivors carved   
by knife blades, rain, and wind, are sending shoots   
straight up, blood red, into the light again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Wagoner (born June 5, 1926) is an American poet who has written many poetry collections and ten novels. David Wagoner’s Collected Poems was nominated for the National Book Award in 1977 and he won the Pushcart Prize that same year. He was again nominated for a National Book Award in 1979 for In Broken Country. He won his second Pushcart Prize in 1983. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1991), the English-Speaking Union prize from Poetry magazine, and the Arthur Rense Prize in 2011. He has also received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

PAINTING: “Sunny Day Cherries,” watercolor by Diane Morgan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“The castle grounds were gleaming in the sunlight as though freshly painted; the cloudless sky smiled at itself in the smoothly sparkling lake, the satin-green lawns rippled occasionally in a gentle breeze: June had arrived.” J.K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

PHOTO: “Scotney Castle Landscape Gardents, Kent, UK” by ukgardenphotos, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


“…summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.” CHARLES DICKENS, Oliver Twist

Painting: “The White Horse” by John Constable (1819)

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Photo: “Temple of Love,” Old Westbury Gardens, Long Island, by cmykgirl, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


How beautiful — 

     Red peppers

            After the autumn gale.

                                                   YOSA BUSON


Poem by Timothy Steele

I bring Fae flowers. When I cross the street, 
She meets and gives me lemons from her tree. 
As if competitors in a Grand Prix, 
The cars that speed past threaten to defeat 
The sharing of our gardens and our labors. 
Their automotive moral seems to be 
That hell-for-leather traffic makes good neighbors. 

Ten years a widow, standing at her gate, 
She speaks of friends, her cat’s trip to the vet, 
A grandchild’s struggle with the alphabet. 
I conversationally reciprocate 
With talk of work at school, not deep, not meaty. 
Before I leave we study and regret 
Her alley’s newest samples of graffiti.

Then back across with caution: to enjoy 
Fae’s lemons, it’s essential I survive 
Lemons that fellow-Angelenos drive. 
She’s eighty-two; at forty, I’m a boy. 
She waves goodbye to me with her bouquet. 
This place was beanfields back in ’35 
When she moved with her husband to L.A.

Photo: Maine Coon Maniac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED