Monday, January 2, 2017

Elsie's Garden

Tante Elsie in her gardening hat

Drove up to Elsie’s garden, my head in the radio,
counting measures and checking musical forms.
I raise my eyes just to park and...
Jolted into Eden, an ecstasy of brilliant color, 

like a cold slap. I’m awakened.
These Irises (the eyes?) are a queen’s purple, 

a ransom of gold,
fringed, bearded, double ruffled about their delicate mouths,
waiting lush as Sheba.
Lemon yellow bearded coral, glacier white fringed,
with a calligraphy of magenta.
Rust-red and egg-yolk yellow.
I gain my breath, and big tears, here at Elsie’s garden.
Tante, at ninety-two, fosters this ecstasy of color,
and scent of peony, double, triple, magenta, snow!
Knowing I must go knock and enter at the door,
I breathe deep, remembering, 

remembering the grace of my DNA,
the colors, the purple, saying “This is me,”
coming off the highway.  

“This is also me”, my old Tante in her garden,
pulling a true miracle of flowers from the unsuspecting soil,
back in the dirt where we belong.
This is me. I weep, I love, I remember.

Annelinde Metzner

April 2006

Feeling gratitude for my Tante Elsie, who nurtured so much life in me by living to the fullest herself.


  1. How wonderful that you shared so much with your Tante. She sure lives on through you. Love the irises!

  2. I felt blessed to know her for awhile.

  3. What a beautiful way to remember your seat tante. I could almost smell the garden.


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