Tam Lin's Garden
by Jennifer LawrenceThe song mentions only the roses she picked, but so much more grows there:
Bittersweet blackberries, plump and weeping grapes, and cherry trees that bleed garnet
When their fruit is picked. Dancing dandelions with silken fluff,
Distrustful lavender, and forget-me-nots; yellow tulips and red,
Rosemary for memories, and rue -- of course, of course! -- for regret.
January remembers quiet secrets. Crows and grackles perch on the sundial,
Cracked with winter's frost, and ivy and cobwebs decorate
The green copper pipes that feed the pool; no spiders here to dance
Graceful minuets at midnight. Water trickles into the pond
With a whisper in the moonlight, silver in the mist;
It could be mercury, as corrupt and delicious as the sweetly-poisoned apples
That rot on the ground under ancient, withered boughs.
When dusk comes in, violet and lambent as wine, the nightingales and crickets
Are singing, singing, perched on the slumped shoulders of the scarecrow,
Stuffed with feathers and faded sorrows.
The song speaks of Janet, and Margaret, and Marjorie May,
And a fool might think that that I was the bane of one woman with many names,
That different minstrels changed the name of my savior to flatter
The daughter of each house where he sang the tune, but I was never saved:
There are ghosts of old autumns here, and bones white as pearl, yellow as ivory
Lay in drifts like snow under the oaks, tangled together like wood stacked for
Beltane's fire. I was never born mortal man, never christened like my brides,
And the only thing more delectable than their flesh was that of the babes
I got them with as they lay weeping in my arms,
cloaked in the shadows of the rose bushes.
Ye olde author (emphasis on the OLD) likes the weird and the strange, which explains most of her friends. Married, with two daughters, Jennifer Lawrence has earned a B.A. in Literature and a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Her interests include gardening, herbalism, mythology and fairy tales, theology, Celtic music, role-playing games, horror movies, and the martial arts. She lives with her husband, her younger daughter, five cats, a dog, and a houseful of gargoyles somewhere near Chicago.
She says: "My favorite fruit is the pear."
Illustration: 'Jardin Musicien' by Roseau.
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