Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Lily’s Lament

November 13, 2009
Warren County Bike Path, along Rocky Brook

Whence comes this foul mood I’m in?
This wallowing in woe ?
Have I caught the November Flu --
That cold withdrawal from lush summer days?
Or is it merely the result of the sun’s lessening rays?

Or is it because – after reams of recycled reminders –
I have let my Sierra Club membership lapse?
Or that I just don’t understand the basics of “trail maintenance”
As practiced by certain towns?

It’s true there are much greater things to mourn
Out in the wide world, beyond my little path
And yet
My walk today along the public trail
So recently “mowed,”
More likely is the cause of my immediate upset.

The folly of my melancholy
Gives me the urge to write a dirge --

So bear with me, friends, and let me rant:

Weep for the raspberry
Red, black and purple-flowering
Their canes cut back to almost nothing.

What will that chipmunk eat for a sweet, next August?
And where will she hide?

Beer-can in the brook!
Bottle in the brush!
Toilet paper strewn along the trail to a nearby swamp
(a holy place)

“Leave nothing but footprints” a faded mantra
from a more optimistic time.

The nearby Birch sheds papery tears

And the Poplar trembles not a little, as the mowing blades pass,
A circular buzzsaw on a tractor’s extended arm.
The edges are dulled by now and carve a ragged border,
tearing rather than cutting the larger shrubs.

Where is the beaked hazel that grew right next to the trail?

The Canada Lilies, that some unknown lover

marked with little yarn bows, weeks before they bloomed?
Sunflowers, Joe-Pye, waves upon waves of fern?

Chopped down one and all
for neatness’ sake.

I know it is that time of year
When the leafy plants naturally die down
That some, in fact, cannot propagate unless the seedpods brown and burst.
And yet – why hurry things along?
Why mow the flowers?


  1. I know just what you mean! So many times I have experienced the same frustration!!!
    So lovely to have run into you on the path this morning! :-) Let's ramble together again, soon! Thank you for your beautiful prose and photos! Jackie C.

  2. This was so lovely -- it brought sadness and inspiration all at once. Very beautiful =)

  3. I know you know how I feel about all this anally uptight compulsion to mow and make neat. What a waste of gas as well as a destruction of perfectly good wild animal feed and winter cover. Ah well . . . . At least most of it will grow back come spring, but the beaked hazelnut sure won't. At least not for maybe a year or more. What a shame! But to whom could you complain? A letter to the Post Star might reach some appropriate person.

  4. Hear ye! Hear ye!
    Very good, and nicely poetic.