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Fw: Ferns in Literature

  • Subject: [ferns] Fw: Ferns in Literature
  • From: "Bob Halley" rhalley1@san.rr.com
  • Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 11:26:14 -0700

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Halley, Robert [mailto:ROBERT.HALLEY@saic.com]
> Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 11:34 AM
> To: 'ferns@hort.net'
> Subject: Ferns in Literature
> Here are a few........
> From Jack London, Before Adam, chapter 3
> I do not remember much of my mother. Possibly the earliest
> recollection I have of her--and certainly the sharpest--is the following:
> seemed I was lying on the ground. I was somewhat older than during the
> days, but still helpless. I rolled about in the dry leaves, playing with
> them and making crooning, rasping noises in my throat. The sun shone
> and I was happy, and comfortable. I was in a little open space. Around me,
> on all sides, were bushes and fern-like growths, and overhead and all
> were the trunks and branches of forest trees.
> Suddenly I heard a sound. I sat upright and listened. I made no
> movement. The little noises died down in my throat, and I sat as one
> petrified. The sound drew closer. It was like the grunt of a pig. Then I
> began to hear the sounds caused by the moving of a body through the brush.
> Next I saw the ferns agitated by the passage of the body. Then the ferns
> parted, and I saw gleaming eyes, a long snout, and white tusks.
> It was a wild boar. He peered at me curiously. He grunted once or
> twice and shifted his weight from one foreleg to the other, at the same
> moving his head from side to side and swaying the ferns. Still I sat as
> petrified, my eyes unblinking as I stared at him, fear eating at my heart.
> It seemed that this movelessness and silence on my part was what was
> expected of me. I was not to cry out in the face of fear. It was a dictate
> of instinct. And so I sat there and waited for I knew not what. The boar
> thrust the ferns aside and stepped into the open. The curiosity went out
> his eyes, and they gleamed cruelly. He tossed his head at me threateningly
> and advanced a step. This he did again, and yet again.
> Then I screamed...or shrieked--I cannot describe it, but it was a
> shrill and terrible cry. And it seems that it, too, at this stage of the
> proceedings, was the thing expected of me. From not far away came an
> answering cry. My sounds seemed momentarily to disconcert the boar, and
> while he halted and shifted his weight with indecision, an apparition
> upon us.
> She was like a large orangutan, my mother, or like a chimpanzee, and
> yet, in sharp and definite ways, quite different. She was heavier of build
> than they, and had less hair. Her arms were not so long, and her legs were
> stouter. She wore no clothes--only her natural hair. And I can tell you
> was a fury when she was excited.
> And like a fury she dashed upon the scene. She was gritting her
> teeth, making frightful grimaces, snarling, uttering sharp and continuous
> cries that sounded like "kh-ah! kh-ah!" So sudden and formidable was her
> appearance that the boar involuntarily bunched himself together on the
> defensive and bristled as she swerved toward him. Then she swerved toward
> me. She had quite taken the breath out of him. I knew just what to do in
> that moment of time she had gained. I leaped to meet her, catching her
> the waist and holding on hand and foot--yes, by my feet; I could hold on
> them as readily as by my hands. I could feel in my tense grip the pull of
> the hair as her skin and her muscles moved beneath with her efforts.
> As I say, I leaped to meet her, and on the instant she leaped
> straight up into the air, catching an overhanging branch with her hands.
> next instant, with clashing tusks, the boar drove past underneath. He had
> recovered from his surprise and sprung forward, emitting a squeal that was
> almost a trumpeting. At any rate it was a call, for it was followed by the
> rushing of bodies through the ferns and brush from all directions.
> Robert Frost
> For Once, Then, Something
> OTHERS taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
> Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
> Deeper down in the well than where the water
> Gives me back in a shining surface picture
> My myself in the summer heaven, godlike
> Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
> Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
> I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
> Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
> Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
> Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
> One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
> Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
> Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
> Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something
> The Gardener's Fern Book
> by Joan Pond
> The gardener's fern book
> was filled with clutter.
> A program from a flower show
> at the Mattatuck Museum,
> with a special thanks from Dr. Gray.
> Mom's 'hide and seek' exhibit
> was judged,
> too sophisticated for the masses.
> There was a Father's Day card
> and
> A Valentine for Someone Special.
> Imagine going through this book
> after she was gone?
> With all her belongings
> falling,
> as leaves
> from a tree.
> Elves - a poem
> by D.J. Conway
> printed in "Celtic Magic" by D.J. Conway
>    ISBN 0-87542-136-9  1990
> reprinted without permission
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> By the fern brake, deep and shady,
> There I met an elfin lady.
> Dressed in cobweb silk and flowers,
> There she whiled away the hours,
>     Waiting until dark.
> On the soft green moss beside her,
> Lay a baby wrapped in eider.
> Skin so fair and hair like midnight,
> The lady watched the coming twilight,
>     Waiting till 'twas dark.
> Silently, I sat beside her,
> Hoping for some words to gather
> In my numb and startled mind.
> Said the lady, "You're most kind
>     to wait with me till dark."
> "Are you lost?" I asked lady.
> "Is this your home, this fern barke shady"
> Will others come by star and moon?"
> She only smiled and began to croon
>     To the elfin child.
> The baby slept. The lady told me
> Deep magic of the Earth and Sea.
> Spells she whispered, strong and old.
> "Use them well," she said. "Be bold
>     when spelling in the night."
> "Can I work these?" The lady smiled
> Gathered up her sleeping child.
> "Oh yes," she answered, "Tis a boon
> For waiting with me till the Moon
>     Slips up the sky."
> Thinking deep, I sat beside her,
> Keeping watch.  I heard the rider
> Coming through the fern brake shady.
> "Are you there, my lovely lady?"
>     Called an elfin voice.
> An elfin lord, his clothes all viney,
> Armed with sword and dagger shiny,
> Rode his horse into the fern brake.
> Then my heart began to quake
>     On seeing his dark eyes.
> Twilight gathered; birds were still.
> The Moon came up above the hill.
> Suddenly I felt alone.
> "Have no fear, for your have sown
>     Good friendship."
> The lady smiled and raised her hand.
> Upon her brow a shining band
> Glistened by the light of the Moon.
> "Would you to give forth a boon?"
>     She asked her lord.
> "For here is a friend, a watcher bold."
> "But they are enemies of old,"
> The elf lord answered.
>     "No," she said,
> "But guarded us in this fern bed."
>     He smiled.
> "So there are some who wish us well."
> His voice was like a distant bell.
> A ring he took from off his hand.
> "This will tune you to the land
>     and magic."
> Its stone was pale, just like the Moon.
> The air was filled with eldritch tune,
> As they mounted, lord and lady,
> Rode off through the fern brake shady,
>     I stood alone.
> People say elves are not there.
> But I have heard their voices fair,
> When I sit down in the brake.
> Magic spells I've learned to make
>     All from the lady.
> Elf lord's ring is on my hand
> To help with magic from the land.
> Sometimes I talk with lord and lady
> In the fern brake, deep and shady,
>     Secretly.
> Is there magic? For me 'tis so.
> For when the sun is sinking low,
> I feel Earth's power within my heart
> And know that I shall never part
>     From the lord and lady
> The large-leaved day grows rapidly,
> And opens in this familiar spot
> Its unfamiliar, diff cult fern,
> Pushing and pushing red after red.
> There are doubles of this fern in clouds,
> Less firm than the paternal flame,
> Yet drenched with its identity,
> Reflections and off-shoots, mimic motes
> And mist-mites, dangling seconds, grown
> Beyond relation to the parent trunk:
> The dazzling, bulging, brightest core,
> The furiously burning father-fire ...
> Infant, it is enough in life
> To speak of what you see. But wait
> Until sight wakens the sleepy eye
> And pierces the physical fix of things.
> Marianne Moore
> Spenser's Ireland
> has not altered;-- a place as kind as it is green, the greenest
> place I've never seen. Every name is a tune. Denunciations do not affect
> culprit; nor blows, but it is torture to him to not be spoken to. They're
> natural,-- the coat, like Venus' mantle lined with stars, buttoned close
> the neck,-the sleeves new from disuse.  If in Ireland they play the harp
> backward at need, and gather at midday the seed of the fern, eluding their
> "giants all covered with iron," might there be fern seed for unlearn- ing
> obduracy and for reinstating the enchantment? Hindered characters seldom
> have mothers in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers.  It was
> Irish; a match not a marriage was made when my great great grandmother'd
> said with native genius for disunion, "Although your suitor be perfection,
> one objection is enough; he is not Irish."  Outwitting the fairies,
> befriending the furies, whoever again and again says, "I'll never give
> never sees  that you're not free until you've been made captive by supreme
> belief,--credulity you say?  When large dainty fingers tremblingly divide
> the wings of the fly for mid-July with a needle and wrap it with
> peacock-tail, or tie wool and buzzard's wing, their pride, like the
> enchanter's is in care, not madness.  Concurring hands divide  flax for
> damask that when bleached by Irish weather has the silvered
> water-tightness of a skin.  Twisted torcs and gold new-moon-shaped lunulae
> aren't jewelry like the purple-coral fuchsia-tree's.  Eire-- the guillemot
> so neat and the hen of the heath and the linnet spinet-sweet-bespeak
> relentlessness?  Then  they are to me like enchanted Earl Gerald who
> himself into a stag, to a great green-eyed cat of the mountain.
> Discommodity makes them invisible; they've dis- appeared.  The Irish say
> your trouble is their trouble and your joy their joy?  I wish I could
> believe it; I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.
> Beate Balzer's poems
> come, let us hide
> come, let us hide
> in the green brown yellow fern, come
> we'll have the blades wither above us, sink
> layer by layer, let us breathe
> and caress the hedgehogs and hibernate
> over the years let us awake
> some day in a mushroom
> still hand
> in hand
>                 (1991)
> Zinta Aistars
> Garden of Fern
> Fronds brush skin like stray
> fingertips
> cool and sweet
> on the flush of cheek
> curved to fit
> the inside curve
> of my warm
> hand.
> Was it apple
> that tempted,
> lush,
> red,
> round,
> giving crisply to
> teeth,
> or
> the whisper
> of ferns
> sweeping
> faint shadows
> over
> secret places
> and hinting
> of mystery
> yet
> to be
> unveiled?
> AIE!
> There's the greenwood fern
> and the open woods
> and the smell of hay
> and the eye of a frog
> and a fern signature
> left in a coal
> and there is fern
> by analogy,
> a most ancient weed.
> Robin Halley
> La Jolla CA USA

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