Frost was the bully that came last night. It stomped through my flowerbed, punching down the fleshy stemmed balsam plants and blackening marigold leaves. They’re hanging sadly bedraggled as I write this. We had warning and carried into the house some of the prettiest tubs & baskets. I left out the pots of pansies and they were crisp this morning, but have cheered up some. And here’s a poem I wrote some years ago about the bullying wind:
Damp September wind whistles
through an August day, chilling
our summer-browned bodies.
Ever the schoolyard bully, it cuffs us
with an almost icy hand. "Remember!"
It mocks our shivers, our calendar
consultations. Dismayed, we grab
for hours as they bounce away, August
days slipping out of our lives forever.
With sighs we hunt for sweaters,
check the pockets of our coats,
while we’re at it, wash our gloves.
For my response I’ll give you the first two verses of this four-verse epic by Edgar Guest.
NOTHING TO LAUGH AT
‘Taint nothin’ to laugh at as I can see!
If you’d been stung by a bumble bee
an’ your nose was swelled an’ it smarted, too,
you wouldn’t want people to laugh at you.
If you had a lump that was full of fire,
like you’d been touched by a red hot wire
an’ your nose spread out like a load of hay,
you wouldn’t want strangers who come your way
to ask you to let the see the place
an’ laugh at you right before your face.
What’s funny about it, I’d like to know?
It isn’t a joke to be hurted so!
An’ how was I ever on earth to tell
that the pretty flower which I stooped to smell
in our backyard was the very one
which a bee was busily working on?
An’ just as I got my nose down there
he lifted his foot an’ kicked for fair,
an’ he planted his stinger right into me
But it’s nothin’ to laugh at as I can see.
This poem by Edgar Guest takes me back to a time soon after the Stock Market Crash in Oct 1929, when the world was plunged into the Great Depression. The winter of 1930 saw a double whammy happening: in the East the economy was sinking fast as jobs were being lost; in the West the drought had begun and was to last, generally, until Aug 1937. All this while Hitler’s armies were moving into various countries and war clouds were gathering over Europe. Yes, this old world has seen some pretty tough times. As Mr Guest points out, the flowers know nothing of financial woes.
Hello, tulips, don’t you know
stocks today are very low?
You appear so bright and glad;
don’t you know that trade is bad?
You are just as fair to see
as you were in times when we
rolled in money. Tell me how
you can look so happy now?
Hello, tulips, white and red,
gleaming in the garden bed.
Can it be you haven’t heard
all the grief which has occurred?
Don’t you see the saddened eye
of the human passer-by?
By his frowning, can’t you tell
things have not been going well?
Hello, tulips, in the sun
You are lovely, every one.
But I wonder, why don’t you
wear a sad, expression, too?
Can it be you fail to see
things aren’t what they used to be?
This old world is all upset;
why don’t you begin to fret?
And they answered me, “Hello.
Nothing’s altered that we know,
warm the sun and sweet the rain,
summer skies are blue again.
Birds are singing and we nod
grateful tulip prayers to God.
Only mortals fret and strive.
We are glad to be alive.”
The Ragtag daily prompt yesterday was A FLOWER CRIED. I had something in mind and tweaked a poem I wrote some years back, but have been slow getting it posted. And here’s a Pixabay image I found to go with it.
A flower cries.
My lovely little blossoms
have sore throats,
a swelling, I suppose,
of too much nectar.
How co-operative you are,
pretty flower, so patient with that
bumbling Doctor Buzz
in his yellow-striped coat
as he pries open your silky jaws
and pushes his portly self
How willingly you put up with
hairy feet tickling,
his fat nose in your tonsils.
He mumbles to himself
as he pokes among
your tender stamens.
How funny that buzzing must feel
deep in your golden throat!
At last he discovers the problem
he wants to cure:
an abscess of sweetness;
to his delight
he manages to remove it all.
Then off he flies,
always in a rush to the next
not even washing his feet.