Monday, July 22, 2013

Quietly The Summer Goes

       
           
          THE WILD HONEYSUCKLE 

          Fair flower, that dost so comely grow, 
          Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
          Untouched thy honied blossoms blow, 
          Unseen thy little branches greet:
          No roving foot shall crush thee here,
          No busy hand provoke a tear.

          By Nature's self in white arrayed,
          She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
          And planted here the guardian shade,
          And sent soft waters murmuring by;
          Thus quietly thy summer goes,
          Thy days declining to repose,

    I don't know why honeysuckle has been on my mind the last few days - it isn't because I've smelled it recently or even know where any is growing nearby. I think it is because the Jimmie Rodgers song, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine lodged in my mind one day and I was so sure the words "honeysuckle vine" were in those lyrics. They're not. So I tried googling 'songs with honeysuckle in the lyrics' which returned only Honeysuckle Rose. Nope. Not what I was looking for.

    When Kari, Preston and Douglas were young we lived on an acreage northwest of Urbandale. The old farmhouse was up a lane and along the west side of the lane from the road to the house were flowers - flowering trees, flowering shrubs and perennials. Approximately halfway was a redbud tree and growing along the ditch beneath it were the most fragrant flowers I had ever smelled. That may even have been my first cognizant experience with honeysuckle. This picture of the kids was taken where the honeysuckle grew.
    I tried planting honeysuckle years later, but it wasn't the same - the flowers were pink instead of white and they weren't nearly as fragrant. I learned that the white ones (which turn yellow as they fade) were called Hall's Honeysuckle - also known as Japanese Honeysuckle. It surprises me to learn this plant is invasive and even banned in some states - but it is so pretty and smells so good! Perhaps it had choked out other flowers where we used to live and I just didn't know it. It was growing like a well-behaved ground cover.
    I also discovered that the few lines I remembered from a long-ago copied poem were from the poem The Wild Honeysuckle by Philip Freneau 1752-1832. The last two stanzas continue below:

    Smit with those charms, that must decay,
    I grieve to see your future doom;
    They died--nor were those flowers more gay,
    The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
    Unpitying frosts, and Autumn's power
    Shall leave no vestige of this flower.

    From morning suns and evening dews
    At first thy little being came:
    If nothing once, you nothing lose,
    For when you die you are the same;
    The space between, is but an hour,
    The frail duration of a flower.

    It is the last four lines that I remembered - especially the last two. The space between is but an hour, the frail duration of a flower.
    On a less somber note, here is a picture I took at the Wallace Country Life Center Saturday. I think I will label it Quietly the Summer Goes.


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