Wandering through a garden old
Whose walls are weathered grey
Cast low, pleached* shadows darkly slant
Across the path to Yesterday.
The rows that once she daily trod,
Now want blue asters and goldenrod.
Still clinging to the aging wall
In slender, lacy dress
As if to lend enchantment,
Blooms a snowy clematis.
In her garden, old and rare
I found one lonely flower blooming there,
A sweet-faced violet, delightful to see,
It whispered, “Please don’t trample me.”
I gathered it gently, its fragrance to share,
Recalling the memories I treasure with care,
Of another old garden, long ago
Where only her old-fashioned flowers would grow.
Its paths were bordered in quaint designs,
With sweet alyssum and Jessamine entwined.
The picket fence had a border, too,
Where Ragged Robin and cornflower hue
Rivaled the sky in its shades of blue.
Like sentinels beside the gate
Gay hollyhocks in columns grew,
And stood divinely tall and straight,
Guarding the garden my grandmother knew.
When in the evening, her labor o’er,
She came to rest near her rose at her door,
She drank in its fragrance and gave a caress.
Of all of her loves, this rose she loved best.
“The Scotch Bluebells,” she’d often say,
“Came from a land far, far away.”
It grew atop a rocky crest,
Shaded by branches of Baby’s Breath.
A primrose bush, Four-o’clocks, a Morning Glory,
Forget-me-not, a Bachelor’s Button, and Cockscomb red,
Nodded with pride near the violet bed.
Violets grew with special art;
‘twas they alone could best impart
A secret wish to a listening heart.
Dear little Violet, my heart is listening
I treasure the wish you’ve bestowed
To revisit my grandmother’s garden;
Precious memories of long, long ago.
Mary Octavia Styron Marshall, circa 1960
© 2004 Mary Styron Marshall
Edited by Jane Bruton Daughtridge 8/04
*Pleach' v.t. interweave the branches of (a hedge, etc.) [OF. Plesser]