Monday, July 22, 2013

Quietly The Summer Goes


          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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