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Chapter XVII

Intermezzo

From "The Catskills" (1918)
By T. Morris Longstreth
    "My garden is a pleasant place
    Of sun-glory and wind-grace.
    There is an ancient cherry-tree --"

Every morning I read that while I was getting, not into flannel shirt and tramping togs, but into the cuffs and collars of outrageous fashion. For my week of fishing had long since fled. The dandelions had bloomed and blown, the commuters changed from derby to straw, and I had been sucked so completely under by the vortices of business that my one taste of outdoors was to read:

    "There is an ancient cherry tree
    Where yellow warblers sing to me,
    And an old grape arbor where
    A robin builds her nest, and there --"

My felt hat, with the trout-flies in its band, hung at hand. I had got out my copy of "Pepacton" to be re-read. I had intended daily to write to those new friends who lived in the Mountains of the Sky, and I sighed sometimes when the sunset was very long in fading. I wanted to drop things and go, for --

    "A heart may travel very far
    To come where its desires are."

 But, aside from occasional letters beginning "Dear friend Morris" and ending "Your friend Brute," trout-flies, Pepacton, and even a certain "topmost rock of Shokan High Point on the ninth of June," were lost in the maze of madness termed "awfully busy." Only sometimes, when I paused after reading:

    "My garden is a pleasant place
     Of moon-glory and leaf-grace --"

did I realize the subconscious hold upon me the land had on which that garden looked. What a very pleasant place the garden was, beside the broad Hudson, back from the hilly street of quiet old Catskill and she who distilled its "moon-glory and leaf-grace" into such exquisite poetry lived there, Catskill-born. Miss Louise Driscoll, who has brought the loveliness of the Catskill country to us in her art as authoritatively as Burroughs and Birge Harrison in theirs, is letting me repeat here the poem that she wrote and read me near "the ancient cherry tree." I thank her for it, and Mr. Wharton Stork, too, in whose "Contemporary Verse" it first appeared, for letting me reprint

 

MY GARDEN IS A PLEASANT PLACE

  • My garden is a pleasant place
    Of sun-glory and wind-grace.
    There is an ancient cherry-tree
    Where yellow warblers sing to me,
    And an old grape-arbor where
    A robin builds her nest, and there
    Above the lima beans and peas,
    She croons her little melodies,
    Her blue eggs hidden in the gre
    Fastness of that leafy screen.
     
    Here are striped zinnias that bees
    Fly far to visit, and sweet peas
    Like little butterflies, new-born;
    And over by the tasseled corn
    Are sunflowers and hollyhocks
    And pink and yellow four-o-clocks.
     
    Here are humming-birds that come
    To seek the tall delphinium,
    Songless bird and scentless flower
    Communing in a golden hour.
     
    There is no blue like the blue cup
    The tall delphinium holds up,
    Nor sky, nor distant hill, nor sea,
    Sapphire nor lapis lazuli.
     
    My lilac trees are old and tall,
    I cannot reach their bloom at all.
    They send their perfume over trees
    And streets and roofs to find the bees.
     
    I wish some power would touch my ear
    With magic touch and make me hear
    What all the blossoms say, and so
    I might know what the winged things know.
    I'd hear the sunflower's magic pipe,
    "Gold-finch, gold-finch, my seeds are ripe!''
    I'd hear the pale wistaria sing,
    "Moon-moth, moon-moth, I'm blossoming''
     I'd hear the evening primrose say,
    "Oh, firefly! come, firefly!"
    And I would learn the magic word
    The ruby-throated humming-bird
    Drops into cups of larkspur blue,
    And I would sing them all to you!
     
    My garden is a pleasant place
    Of moon-glory and leaf-grace.
    Oh, friend, wherever you may be!
    Will you not come to visit me?
     
    Over fields and streams and hills,
    I'll pipe like yellow daffodils,
    And every little wind that blows
    Shall take my secret as it goes.
    A heart may travel very far
    To come where its desires are.
    Oh! may some power touch your ear,
    Be kind to me, and make you hear!



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