Tuesday, July 18, 2023


I mind me in the days departed,

How often underneath the sun

With childish bounds I used to run

To a garden long deserted.

The beds and walks were vanished quite;

And wheresoe'er had struck the spade,

The greenest grasses Nature laid

To sanctify her right.

I call'd the place my wilderness,

For no one entered there but I;

The sheep looked in, the grass to espy,

And passed it ne'ertheless.

The trees were interwoven wild,

And spread their boughs enough about,

To keep both sheep and shepherd out,

But not a happy child.

Adventurous joy it was for me!

I crept beneath the boughs, and found

A circle smooth of mossy ground

Beneath a poplar tree.

Old garden rose-trees hedged it in,

Bedropt with roses waxen-white

Well satisfied with dew and light

And careless to be seen.

Long years ago it might befall,

When all the garden flowers were trim,

The grave old gardener prided him

On these the most of all.

Some lady, stately overmuch,

Here moving with a silken noise,

Has blushed beside them at the voice

That likened her to such.

And these, to make a diadem,

She often may have plucked and twined,

Half-smiling as it came to mind

That few would look at them.

Oh, little thought that lady proud,

A child would watch her fair white rose,

When buried lay her whiter brows,

And silk was changed for shroud!

Nor thought that gardener, (full of scorns

For men unlearned and simple phrase,)

A child would bring it all its praise

By creeping through the thorns!

To me upon my low moss seat,

Though never a dream the roses sent

Of science or love's compliment,

I ween they smelt as sweet.

It did not move my grief to see

The trace of human step departed:

Because the garden was deserted,

The blither place for me!

Friends, blame me not!  A narrow ken

Has childhood "twixt the sun and sward;

We draw the moral afterward,

We feel the gladness then.

And gladdest hours for me did glide

In silence at the rose-tree wall

A thrush made gladness musical 

Upon the other side.

Nor he nor I did e'er incline

To peck or pluck the blossoms white;

How should I know but roses might

Lead lives as glad as mine?

To make my hermit-home complete,

I brought dear water from the spring

Praised in its own low murmuring,

And cresses glossy wet.

And so, I thought, my likeness grew

(Without the melancholy tale)

To "Gentle Hermit of the Dale,"

And Angelina too.

For oft I read within my nook

Such minstrel stories; till the breeze

Made sounds poetic in the trees,

And then I shut the book.

If I shut this wherein I write

I hear no more the wind athwart

Those trees, nor feel that childish heart

Delighting in delight.

My childhood from my life is parted,

My footstep from the moss which drew

Its fairy circle round: anew

The garden is deserted.

Another thrush may there rehearse

The madrigals which sweetest are;

No more for me, myself afar

Do sing a sadder verse.

Ah me, ah me!  When erst I lay

In that child's-nest so greenly wrought,

I laughed unto myself and thought

"The time will pass away."

And still I laughed, and did not fear

But that, whene'er was past away

The childish time, some happier play

My womanhood would cheer.

I knew the time would pass away,

And yet, beside the rose-tree wall,

Dear God, how seldom, if at all,

Did I look up to pray!

The time is past; and now that grows

The cypress high among the trees

And I behold white sepulchres

As well as the white rose.

When graver, meeker thoughts are given,

And I have learnt to lift my face,

Reminded how earth's greenest place

The color draws from heaven.

It something saith for earthly pain,

But more for Heavenly promise free,

That I who was, would shrink to be

That happy child again.

~Elizabeth Barrett-Browning~

The Deserted Garden

All photos today were taken at Glen Burnie Gardens in Winchester, Virginia.  Thank you Linda on whose blog "The View from Squirrel Ridge" shared that there was a Lego Exhibit at the garden.  We have wanted to go back for several months now.  It is a wonderful place and we only explored half the last time.  Learning about the exhibition was the catalyst we needed to head that way last Friday (the 14th).  I will share those photos soon.  I have a lot of flowers on this page that I haven't identified, but I will do a smaller series of posts eventually, paying particular attention to naming them.  

The poem is long but I thought putting a photo from the garden between each verse would encourage the reading to the end.  You can see more info on Elizabeth Barret-Browning at this link.  If you click here you can read the whole poem at another website.  No photos, just the free flow of the poem.


  1. Wow! I have always loved her poetry, but never read this one. Deep and sorrowful!! And your photos are wonderfully appropriate, some almost surreal!

    1. Thank you Ginny, I thought it was beautiful and very touching. So happy you enjoyed the poem and the flowers :)

  2. An intriguing poem and such a tempting garden...

  3. It's such a delightful poem and the photos added so well to it.

  4. This post and of course the poem touched me very much reminding me of forgotten hours of childhood. Thank you, D. Aloha!

    1. Sweet thoughts Cloudia :). You are very welcome and thank you!

  5. You certainly write beautiful poem! The pictures from the garden are certainly a beauty too

    1. Thank you Roentare :) Her poems are quite extraordinary and am glad you enjoyed the garden.

  6. I've read it...so sad that she only felt free in the garden and not other places in her life. But, that was the usual bearing for women of the times.
    Thanks for the reminder, Denise...of how blessed we women of today are! We are free to live our lives.

    1. I agree Donna :) I am glad she had her garden. You are very welcome. it is thought provoking to wonder how it must have been for women back in those days. Hugs from me too.

  7. What a beautiful garden and the poem is wonderful.

    1. Thank you Ann :) I am always thankful that what I share is enjoyed.

  8. Love the poem and garden images. Beautiful flowers! Take care, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

    1. Thank you Eileen :) So happy you enjoyed and I wish you the same.

  9. Beautiful. The poem is new to me, and your photos brought it to life.

    1. Thank you Billie Jo, I am happy you found it so :)

  10. the gardens are much like the grounds and gardens of Ringling Museum here. I wish i could pick a few of the flowers to put on my kitchen table. have always wanted flowers i could cut and never had them.

    1. Ringling must be a wonderful garden Sandra :) I loved the ones we found on our last trip to Florida. More of a tropical feel and so different and gorgeous! It is lovely to see fresh flowers in the house. I don’t have enough of them yet but hope to when they take off.

  11. A beautiful poem and terrific photos.

  12. Some people have that gift, to write like this. Not me but I can read it. I was trying to remember if I had the joy of a garden hidden or otherwise in my youth. I don't believe I did but I have enjoyed some beautiful gardens in my adulthood. Thanks for your photos as illustrations, Denise.

  13. Denise, I am truly touched by this beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing it along with your gorgeous photos. When I first started reading this poem it reminded me of The Secret Garden. So lovely, my friend!

    1. How sweet Martha Ellen and thank you. You are very welcome :) You have reminded me that I really should read The Secret Garden again.

  14. Piękny ogród pięknie pokazany i opisany. Miłego tygodnia😊

    1. Bardzo dziękuję :) Również życzę udanego tygodnia.

  15. I appreciate the shout out! You’re right, we took some very similar pictures.

    1. You are very welcome and well deserved. Thanks to you we had a wonderful time looking at these amazing sculptures. Thanks again Linda :)


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