I am lucky enough to have grown up in a town very close to Longwood Gardens, on the East Coast of the United States. It’s a magnificent place created about a hundred years ago by the wealthy manufacturer Pierre DuPont.
I wrote this poem about it ten years or so ago:
Hymn to Longwood Gardens
How is it that I was born five miles from you,
born to walk your three hundred acres for twelve years?
Now, thirty years later,
In the satiny iced lawns of February,
I dream of your sumptuous beds
luminous in the summer twilight,
your solitary fountain
stumbled upon in the deep shade,
of thrush revealing her speckled breast in the mulch
behind the Italian water gardens.
I dream of my first love
plucking my hand into his,
a young, thin, fine, freckled hand,
the first holding of hands
as we entered the garden
for a fountain display
on a starlit July evening.
In those days, you were free.
Now, you have flourished,
and your entrance fee is costly.