Wednesday, May 7, 2008


In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-washed palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle -and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-coloured blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.

...Walt Whitman

Lilacs. Their time is so fleeting. Maybe a week of wonderful perfume heavy on the air, scenting the yard. Sprays of lavender haze above heart shaped leaves.

I planted 15 bushes over the years. An old farm house isn’t complete without lilacs in the door yard....and a lilac hedge. Enough lilacs to cut armfuls and bring indoors. Old fashioned pale flowered varieties and Ludwig Spaeth, the French hybrid, a much darker purple color.

I’m inpatient for lilac bloom—more than any other flower. In early April I begin watching the buds forming. Waiting.

A little of Amy Lowell’s wonderful poem about lilacs and New England

False blue,
Colour of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.
Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow
Of all Springs.
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.