I Found a Place Where Angelica Grows

[Pamela put this poem to music and sang it at June’s memorial service. Click here for video.]

I found a place where Angelica grows,
In Sydney Harbour, where marsh birds incline.
I went there one mist-bounded, warm April morning
With three eager children, sea-treasures to find.

They found pretty sea shells, pearl blue in the water;
They splashed through snow rivers and dampened their clothes;
Pieces of driftwood they vowed they would cherish,
And I found a place where Angelica grows.

Angelica, sea-loving gentle white flower,
Was brought here from France, so an old legend goes;
To Louisbourg’s cold rocky land by the sailors,
Who, longing for home, threw its seed on our shores.

Today, ‘gainst the stone of Louisbourg’s ramparts
One sees the white flower lend its grace through the mists;
Its lacy-like bloom has outlasted the generals,
Outlasted the cannons, and maids sailors kissed.

The old legend says that the seeds in the New World
Grow only at Louisbourg, speak France’s woes.
Imagine my joy on that moist April morning
When I found a place where Angelica grows!

The past haunted me as of history borning
As I gathered the children sea-wet from their toes,
Their pockets were crammed to the full with their findings,
But I found a place where Angelica grows.

June Maginley c. 1977


Last Bouquet

Morning sun shines on the worn oak table,
October is passing
But summer is paused, held, by a bouquet of flowers,
In an old glass egg-cup.

Brilliant red, golds, oranges, all variations,
Pale and bright splashes of each colour
On five translucent petals,
Painted by faeries, creative.
Their fragrance gentle, lingers.

But five degrees of frost last night guarantees —
These are the last flowers of summer.

June Maginley, October 25, 2012

Garden, Newly Dug

Rain falls upon my garden, newly dug.
A robin, quite unmindful of the rain
Cocks her pert head and listens for
the worm turning.
Afternoon tea, for robins, in my garden newly dug.

Newly dug gardens, a patch of rich brown in green field.
Only the gardener sees the blues, pinks and yellows,
Smells the sweet scents, sees the patterns that hope and labour
And Mother Earth will yield.

The gentle rain falls softly through the night.
Only the worms that robins didn’t catch
Can see the seedlings and little roots absorb,
Swell, grow and outreach as upwardly they stretch,
Become the incarnation of the dream
The Gardener holds in mind.

The Essence of All Gardens floats above
The life forms in my garden, newly dug.
I know the Romance of Far-off Places
As I attend the jewels of other climes.
Lilies and peonies and morning glories,
Delphiniums, nasturtiums and redbuds.
Roses, whether tea or floribunda–
Monkshood, bee balm, herbs of ancient times.
The sailing ships that brought these gems from China,
Or Africa or Europe never knew,
That they spread hope and beauty to New Gardens,
So each of us could grow our own small Kew.

June Maginley, May 1991