Sweet Cicely put on her Lady’s Smock
And her Lady’s Mantle edged with dew
She added a pair of Foxgloves
And a Bonnet of brightest Blue.
So she and her Sweet William
By Jack in the Pulpit were wed
And under all the Shooting Stars
“Forget-Me-Not” they said.
But theirs was only Love-in-a-Mist
A marriage of Youth-and-Old-Age
For she was a Brazen Hussy* and he
Was a Russian Sage.
Her Honesty’s in question,
She was having too good a Thyme
Under the Indian Blankets,
(It’s hard to make this rhyme).
For he’d found her on the Bedstraw
Her Ladies Tresses awry
With Joe Pye Weed and Ragged Robin,
And Basil standing nearby.
They’d shed their Dutchman’s Breeches
And hung them on Jacob’s Ladder
“You’ll Rue this day, you Pigweed,”
He cried growing Madder and sadder.
So now his Love Lies Bleeding
No Woundwort will Self heal
He’s donned a purple Monkshood
And swears on Solomon’s Seal
By all the King’s Spears and Dames Rockets
That he’s no more William the Sweet
He said “Lady’s Slippers shall Touch-Me-Not
My love was too Bittersweet.”
* my grandmother called Celandine or wild poppies, Brazen Hussies.
Country Road on Leap Year Day
Farther along the rutted road we go,
The woods are bright with little flags of snow.
Temporary streams in runnels are tumbling
Along this by-way and beneath the crumbling
Old stone walls from many years ago, when
All this land was cleared and farmed by men
With horses, who performed backbreaking labors,
And knew good fences always make good neighbors.
Now, high atop a sugar maple tree,
Beside the beech and shagbark hickory,
Standing sentinel is a squirrel’s dray.
Mother Nature once more is holding sway.
Birdsong promises that Spring is in the air…
Oh! Who has tossed that empty beer can there?
Jws February 29, 2000