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Lay for the Day
23rd August

The feast day of St Rose of Lima, the patron saint of gardeners. She was born in 1586 and died in 1617, having lived a life of great austerity in a hut in a garden. She was the first person in the Americas to be canonised.

The Gardener

You fructify me. I set the hard fruit
That daily swells your praises. The moons swell,
Diminish and are swollen. The dull bell
Counts another day, cancels it to boot.
Another week: the sharp buds make to shoot,
And you don’t come approvingly to tell
The total of my labour, whether well
I work to draw up sweetness from the root.

The branch aggrieved its store is left to waste
Sheds round its foot the good mouths failed to taste
To feed the gentle and the gardener worm.
Your dextrousness put pollen to this style;
Don’t let me yield decay what’s due your guile,
But pluck now, while your harvest’s bloomed and firm.

John Gibbens
from Legacy

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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