Saturday, June 15, 2024

Gardens For All Seasons

 Moonflower, Datura
—Poetry by Sarah Das Gupta, Cambridge, UK
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain 


A Man For All Seasons

He was unique, his old trousers tied up with
One long thumbnail, grown to untie knots in
binder twine!    
Horse whisperer, sheepdog trainer, pig breeder,
Out in the fields, fence mending, reading the
cloud runes.
Watching leaden skies, prepared for the sullen
face of the winter solstice.
Dark threatening, ironically, Saint Lucy’s Day,
Night’s victory against Light.
Brooding over deep drifts, a mid-winter’s
Yet he was cutting logs for bright kitchen
Rich blazing flames of orange, red to
challenge the resolute, primeval darkness.
Soaked with rain; hair thatched with snow,
his soul lies beneath the frozen plough
awaiting another Spring.

* * *

The Unquiet Grave

Beneath the green there is no rest
the fields of whispering grass
       he hears no more
Seasons with drifting snow
          or burning sun
Springs of bursting buds or early blooms
               he sees no more
His garden neglected, gone to seed
            his wine undrunk


They haunt cafés, parks and fields
Their souls hover in familiar rooms
None to the cold darkness yields
Awaiting lost, the day of doom
We see them in familiar faces
We walk behind them up the stairs
They return to much loved places
I know him by what he wears
I see him in that ancient coat
Battered, warm, tied with twine
You know her by words she wrote
That quiet voice for which you pine
Immortality is to be reborn
In the hearts of those who mourn


The cottage is dark, in shadow,
the brooding forest bleeds into the garden.
Nightshade, the devil’s own flower,
sprawls green tentacles over weeds and
The Moonflower, deadly to even a touch,
blooming at night bestows psychic vision.
Silently the witches’ bells toll at midnight.
The scream of the Mandrake is death.
Monkshood, a protection against vampires,
you can vanish with the Black Hellebore’s
The Winter Rose is a cure for insanity,
St John’s Wort for a pain in the neck.
Henbane is the saviour of witches,
with it they fly off into the night.
Black Winter Rose (Hellebore)

The Garden in the farthest West
Between the mountains and the sea
Nymphs of Evening, twilight beauty
Spirits of the red setting sun
You who tend that most sacred tree
            Golden apples
At the entrance to the Garden
coiled around the sacred tree
Ladon dragon of many heads
Fearsome presence ever watchful
Hera’s wedding gift so rare
            Golden apples
                most fair 
These fruits offer life, not dark death
Hercules’ eleventh great task—
to conquer death, man’s enemy
take apples from the tree of life
Gaia’s gift then brought back to rest
             Golden apples
                 of the West


Today’s LittleNip:

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

—George Eliot


Newcomer Sarah Das Gupta writes that she is “an 82-year-young writer from Cambridge, UK who also worked in India and Tanzania. I have been writing for a year after an accident limited my mobility. I have been fortunate to have had many poems published in over 15 countries, including US, UK, Ireland, India, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Croatia, among others.” Welcome to the Kitchen, Sarah, and don’t be a stranger!


 Sarah Das Gupta

A reminder that this afternoon is the 
MoSt Summer Poetry Workshop #1
in Modesto; and today is also the
deadline for Swan Scythe Press’s
2024 Chapbook Contest
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
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