Tag Archives: Nancy Byrd Turner


Diane's Cottage. Louis Aston Knight.



Nancy Byrd Turner


I want to have a little house

With sunlight on the floor,


A chimney with a rosy hearth,

And lilacs by the door;


With windows looking east and west

And a crooked apple tree.


An room beside the garden fence

For hollyhocks to be!

Who Makes a Garden

Tending the Garden. Reid Robert Payton.


Who Makes a Garden

Nancy Byrd Turner


Who rears four walls around a little plot—

Some still, secluded spot—

And digs and sows there, has done a thing

Beyond his reckoning.

In one small, fended space

Beauty and deep untellable content

Make their abiding place,

And measureless peace is pent.

There rime takes note of tender happenings:

The shimmer of a butterfly’s blue wings

Above the clustered phlox;

A spider’s will to do a miracle

Between two hollyhocks;

The twilight cricket’s humble prophesies;

A brown bird by a pool; and all that goes

Into the lovely lifetime of a rose;

A pansy’s lore; and little questing bees’

Strange, sweet biographies.


Who makes a garden plans beyond his knowing,

Old roads are lost, old dwellings have their day;

And he himself, far summoned, passes hence

An unfamiliar way;—

But lo, he has not perished with his going;

For year by year as April’s heart is stirred,

Spring after punctual Spring,

Across the little acre’s wintry gray

Comes, slowly traced, an old authentic word

In radiant lettering:

A shining script of tendril, vibe, and whorl,

New green, faint rose, clear lavender and pearl,

Petal by delicate petal, leaf by leaf…

As though his own hand from the Mystery

Wrote, for all the earth to see, upon a fadeless beauteous scroll, his brief

For immortality.


In this poem ‘brief’ refers to a written summary of facts to support a case.