Monday, September 12, 2005

September days

Somewhere between the last harvest of my tomatoes and the ripening of the pumpkins, school starts and all hell breaks loose at our house. The mostly empty summer calendar turns over to September and suddenly I've nowhere to scribble in my dentist appointment. School's in, the kids' soccer starts, leaves are falling, days are shorter, nights colder and Walmart has a Santa waving inside the garden center.

Not so fast, Santa. Autumn's just starting. There's still a few heirloom tomatoes on the vine and I just started a late crop of snow peas. So back away from the snow shovels and ice scrapers, please. Amidst all the family madness that is September, my garden to-do list still silently beckons. "Clean out the dead brush," she whispers. "Turn under the spent tomato plants and add the compost!" "Don't forget to divide the hostas and the promised!" Maybe she's not so silent. I have to buy new mums and icicle pansies, hit the end of season perennial sale, move the boxwood, plant the daffodil & allium bulbs, fertilize and build up the garden beds, trim back and mulch the sleeping rose beds. The list is endless. But, such is the garden. The earth gives eternally if we give in equal measure. A fair trade, in my opinion, for the beauty and bounty of the home garden and the peace you find within its borders.

I found this poem the other day and I thought I'd share it. I loved getting lost in his words and images. It's quite lengthy, but worth staying with until the end. This was said of the poet, Alan Seeger, by his Harvard classmate, "The work is well done, and so much out of date as to be almost a positive quality. It is high-flown, heavily decorated and solemn, but its solemnity is thorough going, not a mere literary formality. Alan Seeger, as one who knew him can attest, lived his whole life on this plane, with impeccable poetic dignity; everything about him was in keeping." The roommate was T.S. Eliot.

He has a stamina in his writing I'm not sure I'd ever achieve with two kids in the house. Just in the time it took to write these few lines, I've changed rooms three times seeking refuge from the noise, answered the phone twice, retrieved snacks, fed the persistently scratching cat at my door, helped with my little baker's cookie baking efforts, helped hubbie decide if he needs to go home first or go to soccer practice straightaway...and relocated a stray bee. I've got dinner on my mind and, even with a full refrigerator, I'm coming up empty. Soccer practice is at 5:30, I've packed a book to read, but I'm sure I'm going to be recruited for soccer drills. I think the only haven left is around midnight, when the whole house, its inhabitants, human, electronic and otherwise, are quiet. I bet the best poets were reclusive insomniacs.

The Deserted Garden
by Alan Seeger

I know a village in a far-off land
Where from a sunny, mountain-girdled plain
With tinted walls a space on either hand
And fed by many an olive-darkened lane
The high-road mounts, and thence a silver band
Through vineyard slopes above and rolling grain,
Winds off to that dim corner of the skies
Where behind sunset hills a stately city lies.

Here, among trees whose overhanging shade
Strews petals on the little droves below,
Pattering townward in the morning weighed
With greens from many an upland garden-row,
Runs an old wall; long centuries have frayed
Its scalloped edge, and passers to and fro
Heard never from beyond its crumbling height
Sweet laughter ring at noon or plaintive song at night.

But here where little lizards bask and blink
The tendrils of the trumpet-vine have run,
At whose red bells the humming bird to drink
Stops oft before his garden feast is done;
And rose-geraniums, with that tender pink
That cloud-banks borrow from the setting sun,
Have covered part of this old wall, entwined
With fair plumbago, blue as evening heavens behind.

And crowning other parts the wild white rose
Rivals the honey-suckle with the bees.
Above the old abandoned orchard shows
And all within beneath the dense-set trees,
Tall and luxuriant the rank grass grows,
That settled in its wavy depth one sees
Grass melt in leaves, the mossy trunks between,
Down fading avenues of implicated green;

Wherein no lack of flowers the verdurous night
With stars and pearly nebula o'erlay;
Azalea-boughs half rosy and half white
Shine through the green and clustering apple-spray,
Such as the fairy-queen before her knight
Waved in old story, luring him away
Where round lost isles Hesperian billows break
Or towers loom up beneath the clear, translucent lake;

And under the deep grass blue hare-bells hide,
And myrtle plots with dew-fall ever wet,
Gay tiger-lilies flammulate and pied,
Sometime on pathway borders neatly set,
Now blossom through the brake on either side,
Where heliotrope and weedy mignonette,
With vines in bloom and flower-bearing trees,
Mingle their incense all to swell the perfumed breeze,



At 2:06 PM, Blogger Blue Moon Mama said...

I enjoyed reading your site. Your posts are thoughtful and well written, and you've taken some beautiful photos.

Thanks for sharing them.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger CarolynVB said...

Thanks! I'm glad you stopped by!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Arevanye said...

Yes, the school craziness has started here as well. I hardly have time to do my own housework--what's up with THAT?

Maybe we'll both be online at midnight and we can catch up! ;-)

At 8:44 AM, Blogger CarolynVB said...

No time for housework?! That's a good thing. ;-)

I'm going to have to get in high gear here...wonder if they have Espresso IV's...


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