July 1, 2007


" A land without ruin is a land without memories. A land without memories is a land without history. Crowns of roses fade . Crowns of thorns endure. -Anon.

My mother died when she was 40 and I was four years old. My father , a farmer, had to place us in a nearby home for orphans until we three sisters were old enough to do farm work.

I was ten when I left the orphanage. I'll never forget the day Daddy took me to an old abandoned run-down farmhouse to show me the only place he and my Mom ever owned , but lost in a foreclosure.

Despite the neglect, I could still see the remnants of my Mother's garden - roses still struggling to bloom, apple trees with small fruit hanging from their gnarled limbs, and mildewed Lilacs.

In honor of my Mother's 99th birthday on July 2 I have written of that long ago garden :


A faded gray monument
to a long ago life
black gaping holes
remember summers
of laughter and song
winters of noses pressed against them
prayers for snow

Evil weeds
took notice
of the gardener's departure
choking, strangling
the hot Alabama sun
a witness to the garden 's death.

These were the people of the house:

tall , brown and strong
worked the land
cabbages, onions, tomatoes,
green beans, black-eyed peas
okra , melons, beets
bounty of her table
sweat of her brow

Glen farmed the land
cursing the red clay earth
turning it about
until it was black
cotton, corn, peanuts
Irish and Sweet potatoes
tended from dawn to dusk

Early Spring
Came first born son Cecil
followed by three bonneted girls
Wilma, Carolyn and Linda
seeds they planted
sunflowers , four o'clocks
and daisies of course.

roses and lilacs perfumed the summer air
crepe myrtle, sweet shrub and lavender
also grew there.

Evenings on the front porch
in rocking chairs
Hank Williams sang of whipporwills
three sisters
kicked the can
Hot July nights
watermelon all around.

October came
and the last crop harvested.
The land lay barren and brown.

The music died
one cold Autumn night
and with it laughter
a freezing rain
beat down on sad faces

A wagon piled high
with a life :
Glen's rocking chair
he made of cedar
Ruby's roses all packed in pots
Cecil's battered oak desk
Wilma's handmade dollhouse
Carolyn's wooden rocking horse
Linda's baby bed .

That cold October day
they went away.


  1. Very touching poem. Thanks for letting me know about Garden Bloggers Muse Day. I should be posted soon:)Did you get to have a flower garden at your new place after you went home?

  2. Your poem is beautiful. You've brought to life that long ago time. It has a bitter-sweet yet hopeful feeling to it. A very fine tribute to your mother who died much too soon. It is very touching.


  3. Good morning Carolyn. You've done something remarkable - taken your Crown of Thorns and refashioned it into a coronet to honor the memory of your mother.

    My post for Garden Muse Day is now up - not beautiful or touching, but definitely from the garden.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Just to let you know I've got my page ready . . .


  5. Very moving, Carolyn. Nice work.

  6. Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I posted a poem, although it's not quite as sentimental.

  7. This is a wonderful and touching poem. You have a gift for making the world more beautiful.


    Nick Harkin


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