In Praise of Aged Women

My Father is a Poet.  He also has a green thumb.  But, that's another post.   A true craftsman, I have enjoyed reading his books, stories, and especially, his poetry.   As much as he loves writing it seems to take a back seat to his wife & family (11 children), his many years of church callings (extensive, lay ministry), and his job (in which he has travelled to over 50 countries).   We sometimes ask each other how our "writing is going".  So, I count this as my reminder.

 I suppose this poem is about my Great-Grandmother, Luella Jeppsen, in her flower garden that was nestled in that small valley, where the old house still stands. 

In Praise of Aged Women

In the flower-ghosted gardens
Of the hill rimmed town
The quick, small hands of ancient women, 
Like sparrow priestesses
In ritual of seeds and bulbs, 
Perform again the preparatory rites of earth so well
That numinescent plants
Are soon seen rising greenly in the air.

At their touch
New leaves leap out and whorl, 
Small buds uncurl from fingertips, 
Attach themselves to stems
And then unravel lithely in the gentle pressure 
Of the naked air. 

The ancient fingers
Flick among the thorns and bees like rain;
Binding, healing bent and broken stems
With quickened love. 

In gratitude the women lift 
Their aged hands up to the sun
Revealing rainbow fingers, 
The colored powder of the petals
Having dusted them with dye.  

- Randall L. Hall 

(from Mosaic)

Only a few days ago I was expressing to him my adoration for poppies.  

"Grandma Jeppsen loved poppies," he remarked.  "She had them running all along the front of the house."  


responses to your wonderful comments to come, tomorrow.  smiles. 


The Weaver of Grass said...

what a beautiful poem - and how I love the expression "poppies running along the front of her house" I get this wonderful picture in my mind of hundreds of poppies on the move! That poem reminds me of so many old ladies I have known who spent so much time in their gardens that they were almost a part of it. Beautiful.

EB said...

Oooh that's good! I particularly like the bit about the gentle pressure of the air... the way it suggests the reciprocity of everything.