The Iris Garden #Pathways #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryFriday

Yeah! It’s Poetry Friday! Jone Rush Macculloch is our hostess for this the fifth and final Friday of National Poetry Month.

During the month of April, I will write or revisit poem-ish pieces inspired by my frequent walks in the natural world. Trails, paths, signs, and views always intrigue and inspire me. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knows which direction they will go in or how often they will appear.

The Iris Garden

There is a rustic bridge, low arched
That spans a tiny shallow pool,
Whose waters when the ground is parched
Still keeps the neighboring meadow cool.
Here Nature gently seems to say,
“Now come, we welcome you to stay.”

So all throughout the heat of day,
Made joyous by the Summer’s Sun,
There plays a merry company;
From morning till the day is done
They nod and dance beneath the trees
As if they know their joy would please;

Gay butterflies and bees for hours
Will hover o’er a fairy sea
Whose very waves are made of flowers;
Who ever dreamed such shades could be?
Now watch their varied colors dance.
How many see you at a glance?

Rich purple, veined with orange light;
Pale blue, that vies with twilight’s hue;
Some, painted like the shades of night;
And others clear as morning’s dew!
While every where your eye may seek,
This living beauty seems to speak.

When summer sends her wondrous day
Of sweetness filled with leisure hours,
Come hasten to this spot and play
Amid the beckoning Iris Flowers,
N’er evening sends her dark’ning shade,
Or time shall bid the petals fade!

— Mildred Kennedy (1877-1960)

A peek at my process

Today I veer off course a bit with my NPM project. Four years ago, I wrote about a long-ago Japanese iris garden that haunts my dreams. (You can read about that here.) There have been a few very exciting developments since that post.

My parents, who are cleaning out before a major move, are finding all sorts of treasures, one of which is this sestain — The Iris Garden. It was written by my great-great aunt Mildred, who lived in the house with the Japanese iris garden as a child. I had shivers up my spine as I opened up the faded typing paper and realized the treasure I held in my hands. We don’t know if the poem was ever published anywhere, so this could very well be its debut. I can’t think of a better place.

They also found some amazing images of the garden captured on glass autochromes that we did not know existed. I had four of them digitized and am thrilled that now the garden of my dreams is beginning to come back to life again.

Unknown visitor to the garden.
My great uncle Gordon and great aunt Frances, who grew up in the home, dressed for visitors to the garden.

Now that I am in possession of such treasures, I’m torn about what to do with them to protect them. For now, I am basking in the excitement of paths lost to time having a rebirth of sorts.

And lastly…

Today it’s Karen Eastlund’s turn to add the penultimate line to the 2022 Kid Lit Progressive Poem on her blog, Karen’s Got a Blog. Participants borrowed lines from literature and songs. I was thrilled to provide line 19, which I borrowed from The Keeper of Wild Words. I hope you’ll join us to see how the poem finishes up tomorrow. Here’s the full itinerary for the poem.

2022 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing


11 thoughts on “The Iris Garden #Pathways #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryFriday

  1. What an incredible and marvelous discovery, Christie! I love the pictures and the poem is quite lovely. I especially enjoyed the verse with the colors, wow! I wonder if it would be nice to self-publish a little book with pics and poems for all the family? You could add your own poem to bring it full circle! On a side note. One time visiting family in Missouri, my brother took me to an iris farm, amazing to see! Hope you’ll share what happens next!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow is right. What an incredible treasure — both the pics and the poem. Didn’t know about autochromes — wonderful that you were able to digitize those pictures. Poetic talent runs in your family. Enjoyed Mildred’s poem; the voice is so true to her time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have unearthed such a treasure! The photos themselves could spark many poems. And the poem is lovely, perfect in meter and tone. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I look forward to hearing more. I love irises!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What rich and wonderous treasure! Glass images. Wowee! And, an Iris garden…what a beautiful idea all on its own. Bask in this excitement. But, I think there’s a book in the whole experience 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What treasures! My mom grew iris, collecting colors and variations from catalogs and friends. She even tried to breed some of her own. I have some of her iris in my garden, but the garden itself has been plowed under by the new owners of my childhood home. I understand the pull that garden has on you.


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