September 26, 2016

the lingering petals of fragrance

I spent some time in my garden over the weekend, battling with the rampant honeysuckle that is confidently defeating all my efforts to contain its growth and transplant it to containers.  I love the lushness of this hardy vine and the fragrance of the small yellow blooms that waft through my bedroom window, but it has taken over the back of my garden with abandon.  Perhaps it is a metaphor - embrace where you are planted and live with exuberance? 

I worked in the garden, which sounds much more refined than saying I wrestled weeds, even though that is far closer to the reality, right after a heavy rainstorm and the few remaining blossoms sparkled in the sunshine that followed the storm.  Another metaphor?  My garden seemed to burst forth yesterday with poetical meanings and suggestions, and of course I delighted in thinking about poems that might pair nicely with the remaining floral survivors. 

Not at all like me --
How with each passing day
while the autumn sun
wanes, the blossoms wax stronger
on the morning glories.

~~an uto, from the Japanese poet Shotetsu (1381-1459)

With the deck canopy extended, I was able to enjoy the rainstorm from the glider, glad to still be outside in nature.  Another poem in the uto form, this one from Sinkei (1406-1475) came to mind as I sat watching the rain drops splatter onto the deck and drench the yard and garden.  I guess the nature of man and the turmoil he creates never changes...

Rainclouds gather,
but with more calm than the storms 
raging in the world.

A couple hours of peace and contentment in amidst the last lingering summer blooms, who have yet to succumb to autumn's rich decay.  Thank you, flowers, for offering up one final farewell!

I knew right away I would want to share Mary Oliver's The Cricket and the Rose with you today - how lucky we are to have both flowers and poetry in this lovely and complicated world of ours!  The lingering petals of fragrance and the timeless body of prayer...

In fall
the cricket
beneath the rose bush
as the roses fall
to the very ground
that is his kingdom also.

So they're neighbors,
one full of fragrance,
the other
the harper
of a single dry song.

We call this time of the year
the beginning of the end
of another circle,
a convenience
and nothing more.

For the cricket's song
is surely a prayer,
and a prayer, when it is given,
is given forever.

This is a truth
I'm sure of,
for I'm older than I used to be,
and therefore I understand things
nobody would think of
who's young and in a hurry.

The snow is very beautiful.
Under it are the lingering
petals of fragrance,
and the timeless body
of prayer.
My prayer for today is that we take time to discover the beauty in the simple moments of our day, the fragrance and the prayers that surround us all.

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