Garden Verse


This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Nothing Gold Can Stay
By Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Hide and Go Seek
By Michael Dennis Browne

I count to fifty.
Then I appear at the French window;
in my hand, the three-flame candelabrum.
The children have run to hide in my sister’s garden.
It is March, damp dark, that English dark I left.

I make the monster sound.
I give the groan they long to hear, and fear.
I can almost feel their shivering out there.

Then I begin to move.
I lurch, stiff-legged.  I sway.
I am the Mud Man, come
still smeared from his swamp,
I am something extinct
with rotting fingers,
I am the slimy thing from the sea
who leaks after them on feet
horribly like the human hand, but heavier.
I am he no longer afraid of fire,
who points these prongs of flame to find them.
I need some blood.
I need to catch me some family flesh
and chew it down to the bone.

Appalled, they hurtle all over,
the nephews, the nieces,
they scatter, they stream
round Fran and Angela’s garden,
desparate scared, mad scared –
who let this thing loose in England?—
run! run! –
the Bogey Man, the Bog Beast –
run! run!
Roaring, reaching out,
again and again I miss them,
so slow I am
so sleepy with my swampy blood,
miss them just enough to freshen their fear,
to send them screaming further
into the dark,

out behind the beanpoles,
behind the compost,
behind the favorite tree that is now
metal to the touch
I hear, I hear the panting.

And—it is enough.  Now it is done.
Now I raise the candles to show
my friendlier face – I am Michael again,
the almost American uncle,
and I call to them:  All in, All in.

Together we go toward the house,
through the garden that is theirs again,
laughing, still thrilled with our fright.
And Damien, my godson, four,
that boy of light I sought in the dark
shouts:  “I’m bigger than myself!”

Whoever the seekers, children,
whoever will chase you,
if inside you, if behind you,
may they miss, I pray it,
may they not touch,
may you make it
past such grasping and reach the house
as now together we do,
where people are waiting who love us
and from darkness welcome us.
O mystery of family.  O darkness.  O house.
I pray it:  All in.  All in.