For my daughter, Rae. She will know why…
My Dear Lady Alchemilla,
Your pleated, waterproofed mantles and frothy flowers
Gently nod to me in unison as I brush past,
A stunning study in apple-green and chartreuse.
Glistening, transparent water beads of differing proportions,
Rolling rhythmically across the surface,
As if just jettisoned from a pin ball machine!
This game of Alchemy holds me spellbound and mesmerised.
Cloaked in magic and mystery, your divination strangely potent!
In days of old, at dawn, when dew lay heavy,
Your watery orbs were gathered up and highly prized,
Considered the healing aeons of gods.
The Alchemist in his quest to change metal into gold
Used them also, your water deemed the purest of all.
For decades your enchantment has entranced me.
Now purposely a clump of you now grows
In full view of my back door, so I can be reminded…
Of the Miracle, My Lady, that is You.
And invariably I find myself singing these beautiful words,
And humming them to Handel’s exquisite music…
“Did you not hear My Lady,
Go down the garden singing,
Blackbird and thrush were silent,
To hear the alleys ringing.
Oh saw you not My Lady,
Out in the garden there,
Shaming the rose and lily,
For she is twice as fair.”
Alchemilla mollis = common name, Lady’s Mantle.
Quote from Silent Worship, the 1928 adaptation by Arthur Somervell of the Aria, Non lo diro col labbro, from Handel’s 1728 Opera, Tolomeo, ( Ptolemy ).