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AUSTIN, Alfred

The Glory of Gardening

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt,

head in the sun,

heart with nature.

To nurture a garden

is to feed not just the body,

but the soul.


Show me your garden

and I shall tell you who you are


Why from the plain truth should I shrink?

In woods men feel; in towns they think.

Yet, which is best? Thought, stumbling, plods

Past fallen temples, vanished gods,

Altars unincensed, fanes undecked,

Eternal systems flown or wrecked;

Through trackless centuries that grant

To the poor trudge refreshment scant,

Age after age, pants on to find

A melting mirage of the mind.

But feeling never wanders far,

Content to fare with things that are.


Is life worth living?

Yes, so long as there is wrong to right.

So long as faith with freedom reigns and loyal hope survives,

And gracious charity remains to leaven lowly lives;

While there is only one untrodden tract for intellect or will,

And men are free to think and act,

Life is worth living still.


My virgin sense of sound was steeped

In the music of young streams;

And roses through the casement peeped,

And scented all my dreams.”


In vain would science scan and trace

Firmly her aspect. All the while,

There gleams upon her far-offface

A vague unfathomable smile.”