Even now, as we are in the first week of the end of December, in New York City, where I live and have a terrace garden, my Tropaelum majus's (Nasturtium) flowers (in the image to the right) are still going strong; and they were in a particularly whimsical mood yesterday morning (when I took this picture), inspite of the torrents of chilly rainfall that we were experiencing.
These red and yellow flowers like my "famous" no-slave-to-fashion herb, the White Swan Echinacea, and my CoCo Chanel loving Ophipogon planiscapus (Black Mondo Grass), which also grow in my garden, were joking about "rules" regarding what was fashionable, what was in style, and what was passé, when the Hamatreya skirt (pictured below, image credit is here) came up in their conversation.
The Hamatreya skirt has the same name as a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which has a line in it that is often (mistakenly) attributed to e.e. cummings, and the aforementioned line is this: "Earth laughs in flowers".
This quote has been appliquéd to mugs, plaques, and decorative stones for many, many years, in an effort to market it as a happy-fluff quote, which I suppose it can be when it stands alone; however, in the context of the full poem, Hamatreya, that could not be farther from the truth, and that is what my Tropaelum magus's flowers were discussing yesterday as they recited the poem in full as posted below.
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, "'Tis mine, my children's and my name's.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.'
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond,
'This suits me for a pasture; that's my park;
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge,
And misty lowland, where to go for peat.
The land is well,--lies fairly to the south.
'Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back,
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.'
Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds
Him to his land, a lump of mould the more.
Hear what the Earth says:--
Mine, not yours, Earth endures;
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.
To them, and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
"But the heritors?--
Fled like the flood's foam.
The lawyer, and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?'
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.