Someday I’ll take the time to pretty this page up a bit. In the meantime it’s just a place where I dump favorite quotes and poems that I come across.
A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.
Walter de la Mare
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau
“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”
“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”
Who know if the Moon’s
a ballon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky—filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should
get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their baloon,
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people
than houses and steeples and clouds:
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where
in love and flowers pick themselves
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, : I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
– Walt Whitman: From Song of Myself (1855)
“It was one of those days in March when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; where it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”
“Time, space and lot’s of friends–that’s what you need to be a successful quilter.” Sarah McClure, Elm Creek Quilter
“Life is too short to worry about chores when there’s important quilting to be done.” Agnes Emberly, Elm Creek Quilter
“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus (1913-1960);
author and philosopher
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind.
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.Heigh-ho! Sing, Heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then Heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, Heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then Heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.”
“Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is the traveller’s dower;
A thousand passers-by
Its beauties may espy,
May win a touch of blessing
From Nature’s mild caressing.
The sad of heart perceives
A violet under leaves
Like sonic fresh-budding hope;
The primrose on the slope
A spot of sunshine dwells,
And cheerful message tells
Of kind renewing power;
The nodding bluebell’s dye
Is drawn from happy sky.
Then spare the wayside flower!
It is the traveller’s dower.”
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” — N. Hawthorne
“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.”…William Wordsworth
The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
Michael Pollan (born 1955)
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without
moving anything but your heart.
Phyllis TherouxWe have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible. –Shakespeare
The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
– William James
Our Lives Pass Away
by David Budbill
glitters on the water.
Sweet colors of fall
drift down and land
on my new woodpile.
Winter is full of snow
and cold, but inside
the woodstove glows.
Then spring again
Our lives pass away.
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
Fervet olla, vivit amicitia: While the pot boils, friendship endures.
(Meaning the man who gives good dinners has plenty of friends).
“The garden is where there’s no pretending that living things don’t die.
Whatever you don’t kill makes you stronger, though, and hungrier for more plants and then some more, and so this imprint deepens: Curiosity becomes interest, interest becomes hobby, hobby becomes passion, passion becomes life’s work, and even spiritual pursuit—the stuff of the heart.”
by Wendell Berry
I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.
“IX.” by Wendell Berry, from Leavings.
“I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.” -John Erskine
In Spring at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
by Louise Gluck
This is how you live when you have a cold heart.
As I do: in shadows, trailing over cool rock,
under the great maple trees.
The sun hardly touches me.
Sometimes I see it in early spring, rising very far away.
Then leaves grow over it, completely hiding it. I feel it
glinting through the leaves, erratic,
like someone hitting the side of a glass with a metal spoon.
Living things don’t all require
light in the same degree. Some of us
make our own light: a silver leaf
like a path no one can use, a shallow
lake of silver in the darkness under the great maples.
But you know this already.
You and the others who think
you live for truth and, by extension, love
all that is cold.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
I WANDER’D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch’d in never-ending lineAlong the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eyeWhich is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
- Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
Chicory by John Updike
Show me a piece of land that God forgot—
a strip between an unused sidewalk, say,
and a bulldozed lot, rich in broken glass—
and there, July on, will be chicory,
its leggy hollow stems staggering skyward,
its leaves rough-hairy and lanceolate,
like pointed shoes too cheap for elves to wear,
its button-blooms the tenderest mauve-blue.
How good of it to risk the roadside fumes,
the oil-soaked heat reflected from asphalt,
and wretched earth dun-colored like cement,
too packed for any other seed to probe.
It sends a deep taproot (delicious, boiled),
is relished by all livestock, lends its leaves
to salads and cooked greens, but will not thrive
in cultivated soil: it must be free.
by Andrew Hudgins
My wife is not afraid of dirt.
She spends each morning gardening,
stooped over, watering, pulling weeds,
removing insects from her plants
and pinching them until they burst.
She won’t grow marigolds or hollyhocks,
just onions, eggplants, peppers, peas ?
things we can eat. And while she sweats
I’m working on my poetry and flute.
Then growing tired of all that art,
I’ve strolled out to the garden plot
and seen her pull a tomato from the vine
and bite into the unwashed fruit
like a soft, hot apple in her hand.
The juice streams down her dirty chin
and tiny seeds stick to her lips.
Her eye is clear, her body full of light,
and when, at night, I hold her close,
she smells of mint and lemon balm.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.”
Jala-Uddin Rumi 1207-1273
Be an everyday creative person, creative in everything you do. Eric Maisel
It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived. Helen Walton
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain. Tiffany Wilson
The rose has taken off her tire of red –
The mullein-stalk its yellow stars have lost,
And the proud meadow-pink hangs down her head
Against earth’s chilly bosom, witched with frost.
– from “Autumn” by Alice Cary (1820 – 1871)
MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
– from “My November Guest” by Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)
I find sweet peace in depths of autumn woods,
Where grow the ragged ferns and roughened moss;
The naked, silent trees have taught me this. –
The loss of beauty is not always loss!
– from “November” by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823 – 1902)
“Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle.”
“It is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle. ~Ellen Birdseye Wheaton, 1851
I cannot count my day complete
‘Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
A garden really lives only insofar as it is an expression of faith,
the embodiment of a hope and a song of praise.
Russell Page, The Education of a Gardener, 1962
The Saints of April
by Todd Davis
Coltsfoot gives way to dandelion,
plum to apple blossom. Cherry fills
our woods, white petals melting
like the last late snow. Dogwood’s
stigmata shine with the blood
of this season. How holy
forsythia and redbud are
as they consume their own
flowers, green leaves running
down their crowns. Here is
the shapeliness of bodies
newly formed, the rich cloth
that covers frail bones and hides
roots that hold fervently
to this dark earth.
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
— from Auguries of Innocence, William Blake
THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE
By William Butler Yeats (1892)
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
THE CAT AND THE MOON
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
Winter Time –Robert Louis Stevenson
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.