Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.
PLANTING GERANIUM AND BOX
ON THE GRAVE OF AN AGED FRIEND.*
FRAGILE plant, of slender form,
Fair, and shrinking from the storm,
Raise thou here, thy timid head,
Bloom in this uncultur’d bed :
Thou, of firmer spirit, too,
Stronger texture, deeper hue,
Dreading not the blasts that sweep,
Rise, and guard its infant sleep.
Fear ye not the lonely shade
Where the bones of men are laid ;
Short, like yours, their transient date, —
Keen hath been the scythe of fate.
Forth, like plants, in glory drest,
They came upon the green earth’s breast,
Spread forth their roots to reach the stream, —
Their blossoms, toward the rising beam,
Inhal’d the morning’s balmy breath,
And sank at eve, in withering death.
Rest here, meek plants, for few intrude
To break this silent solitude.
Yet should some giddy footstep tread
Amid the ashes of the dead,
Still let the hand of rashness spare
These tokens of affection’s care,
Nor pluck their cherish’d buds that wave,
In sweetness o’er a Christian’s grave.
— White were the locks that thinly spread
Their silver o’er her honor’d head,
And furrows, not to be effaced,
Had time amid her features traced,
Before my earliest strength I tried
In infant gambols by her side ;
But yet, no grace or beauty rare,
Were ever to my eye so fair.
Seven times the sun with swift career,
Hath marked the circle of the year,
Since first she pressed her lowly bier ;
And seven times sorrowing have I come
Alone and wandering through the gloom,
To pour my lays upon her tomb ;
Nor could I bear to see her bed
With brambles and with thorns o’er spread.
Ah ! surely round her place of rest
I should not let the coarse weed twine,
Who every path by sorrow prest,
With pure benevolence hath blest,
And scattered such perfumes on mine ;
It is not meet, that she should be
Forgotten, or unwept by me.
My plants, that in your hallowed beds,
Like strangers, raise your trembling heads,
Drink the pure dew that evening sheds,
And meet the morning’s earliest ray,
And catch the sunbeams when they play ;
And if your cups are filled with rain,
Shed back those drops in tears again ;
Or if the gale that sweeps the heath,
Too roughly o’er your leaves should breathe,
Then sigh for her, and when ye bloom,
Scatter your fragrance o’er her tomb.
But should ye, smit with terror, cast
Your blighted blossoms on the blast,
Or faint beneath the vertic heat,
Or fail when wintry tempests beat,
There is a plant of deeper bloom,
Whose leaves shall deck this honor’d tomb,
Not blanch’d with frost, or parch’d for rain,
Or by the wrath of winter slain,
But every morn its buds renewed,
Are by the tears of evening dewed,
— The deathless plant of gratitude.
* This tribute to the memory of a kind benefactress of
childhood, though written in early years, seemed not inappro-
priate to the present selection.
We leave offerings to those who have passed before us in the way of flower bouquets, favorite foods, gifts, and even small stones — depending on your upbringing.
It must be a very sacred and timeless thing to plant a flower on an old friend’s grave. Sorrow and tears at the grave can be replaced with good memories as one beautifies the grave with a lovely flower or bouquet.
With the vines and brambles removed from around the grave, a pretty flower was planted to mark it as a place of honor.
The person who plants a geranium on her friend’s grave feels better for knowing that a beautiful and sturdy flower will mark the grave and keep the spirit high.
The one who lost a friend realizes that one day the geranium will meet its fate just as her friend had. A transient lot we are, for sure.
She feels gratitude for having known her friend and honors that friendship every year by tidying up the grave site and planting another geranium. If gratitude were a flower, it would mark her grave forever.
Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “Forgotten Flowers to a Bride”.