Dying and Death
Decay, Failing Health, Poor Health, Disease, Illness 
Fading Away, Growing Old, Aging, End of Life, Mortality   
Impermanence


Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

Cloud Hands Blog     The Spirit of Gardening     Quotes for Gardeners     Druids

 

 

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Listen,
all creeping things -
the bell of transience.
-  Issa

 

 

I want Death to find me planting my cabbages.
-  Michel De Montaigne 

 

 

If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies; like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate.
-  Fernand Lequenne 

 

 

Live each day as if it were your last, and garden as though you will live forever.
-  Author Unknown 

 

 

Fear no more the heat o' th' sun
Nor the furious winters' rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
-  Shakespeare

 


The Illusion of Immortality.  By Croliss Lamont.  Introduction by John Dewey.  Fifth Edtion, 1935, 1990.  New York, Continuum, Frederick Ungar Book, Half Moon Foundation, 1990.  Index, notes, 303 pages.  ISBN: 0804463778.  VSCL. 

 

 

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
–  Steve Jobs  

 

 

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
-  T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets - East Coker # 200, 1943

 

 

Planting is one of my great amusements, and even of those things which can only be for posterity, for a Septuagenary has no right
to count on any thing but annuals.
-   Thomas Jefferson 

 

 

I love the fall.  I love it because of the smells that you speak of; and also because things are dying, things that you don't have to take care of anymore, and the grass stops growing.
-  Mark Van Doren 

 

 

I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn.
-  A Chieftan from Nigeria 

 

 

"So we'll live, and pray and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies ...
And take upon us the mystery of things
As if we were Gods' spies."
-  Shakespeare, King Lear, V 3 

 

 

Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath,
And stars to set; but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
-  John Milton, The Hour of Death 

 

 

Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold. 
-   William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis 

 

 

Now the gardener is the one who has seen everything ruined so many times that (even as his pain increases with each loss) he comprehends - truly knows - that where there was a garden once, it can be again, or where there never was, there yet can be a garden. 
-  Henry Mitchell 

 

 

You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.
Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.
-
  Han Shan, circa 630 CE  (Translated by Peter Stambler, Cold Mountain Buddhas

 

 

Lack of love for the vegetative, subtle, cthonic, pagan, and sexy aspect of the world means death. 
-  Alan Watts, Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown, 1968, p. 135 

 

 



 

Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index


Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Daodejing
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
81
 

 

 

 

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying. 
-  Robert Herrick   

 

 

... in gardens, beauty is a by-product.
The main business is sex and death ...
-  Sam Llewelyn,
The Sea Garden 

 

 

Come my spade.  There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold up Adam's profession.
-  Shakespeare, Hamlet V,i 

 

 

A man shall ever see, that, when age grows to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely;
as if gardening were the greater perfection. 
-  Frances Bacon   

 

 

Is childhood ever long enough, or a happy time, or even a beautiful summer day?  All of these carry the seeds of
the same fierce mystery that we call death. 
Eugene Kennedy 

 

 

Then again, if the plant is slow growing, and you are getting older, you may want to start with a larger plant.  I find myself buying larger plants each year.
-  Bill Cannon  

 

 

Take the goods the gods provide, and don't stand and sulk when they are snatched away.
-  Mary McMullen  

 

 

Everything you cherish
Throws you over in the end
Thorns will grab your ankles
From the gardens that you tend. 
-  Robert Hunter, Aim at the Heart

 

 

There are many tired gardeners but I've seldom met old gardeners. I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart.  Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.  The one absolute of gardeners is faith.  Regardless of how bad past gardens have been, every gardener believes that next year's will be better.  It is easy to age when there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for; gardeners, however, simply refuse to grow up.  Thomas Jefferson said once, "Though an old man, I am but a young gardener"."
-  Allan Armitage 

 

 

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.
-  Steve Karmen 

 

 

When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they
weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.  Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home. 
-  Mohican Chief Aupumut, 1725, Native American Quotations 

 

 

Someday I'll be a weather-beaten skull resting
on a grass pillow,
Serenaded by a stray bird or two.
Kings and commoners end up the same,
No more enduring than last night's dream.
-  Ryokan, 1758-1831 

 

 

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful.  It's the transition that's troublesome. 
-  Isaac Asimov 

 

 

Through winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when the abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter's best of all:
And after that there's nothing good
Because the spring time has not come--
Not know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb. 
-   William Butler Yeats  

 

 

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.
-  Robert Green Ingersoll  

 

 

Cherry trees will blossom every year;
But I'll disappear for good,
One of these days.
-  Philip Whalen, 1923 -June 26, 2002
   Zen priest, Abbot of San Francisco Hartfort Street Zen Center
   Associated with West Coast Beat poets 

 

 

Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.
-  William Blake, Proverbs of Hell 

 

 

Then here's a hail to each flaming dawn
And here's a cheer to the night that's gone
And may I go a roaming on - until the day I die!
-  Gravestone in the Adirondacks

 

 

There is still no cure for the common birthday.
- John Glenn, U. S. Senator, at age 75 

 

 

I do not believe in personal immortality; it seems so unnecessary.
Show me one man who deserves to live forever.
Edward Abbey 

 

 

If a tree dies, plant another in its place.
-  Linnaeus 

 

 

A ruin is not just something that happened long ago to someone else; its history is that of us all, the transience of power, of ideas, of all human endeavors.
-  George Schaller

 

 

Paradise -
I see flowers
from the cottage where I lie. 
-  Yaitsu's death poem, 1807 

 

 

So Funny, the Pekin duck, lies between Thurber [the golden retriever], the birch, and the Chinese stationary bamboo, and has made me remember that my garden has always included dead pets, and most likely always will.  One way or another - even in New York City - animals find their way into my garden, I water them and they come up roses. 
-  Patti Hagan, 1989 

 

 

We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in the cold.
-  Wallace Stevens 

 

 

Our blessed Savior chose the Garden for his Oratory, and dying, for the place of his Sepulchre; and we do avouch for many weighty
causes, that there are none more fit to bury our dead in than in our Gardens and Groves, where our Beds may be decked with verdant and fragrant flowers, Trees and Perennial Plants, the most natural and instructive Hieroglyphics of our expected Resurrection and Immortality.
-  John Evelyn 

 

 

Cloud Hands Blog 

 

 

Everything you cherish
Throws you over in the end
Thorns will grab your ankles
From the gardens that you tend.
Robert Hunter 

 

 

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous
inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
-  John Muir  

 

 

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
-  Henry Louis Mencken 

 

 

Nothing is right and nothing is just;
We sow in ashes and reap in dust.
-  Violet Fane

 

 

It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life.  Old age is life's parody, whereas death transforms life into a
destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. . . . Death does away with time.
-  Simone de Beauvoir  

 

 

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
-  Author Unknown 

 

 

We come from the earth, we return to the earth, and in between we garden.
-  Author Unknown

 

 

Vain vision! when the changing world each day
Sees some such lordly pleasance pass away;
When the mere stripling knows my symbols all
Worn tokes, heaven hypothetical,
Nature indifferent, and the dreams of men
Figments of longing which we must condemn.
Yet keep these plants, O Man! a kinder time
May yet be moved by them to better rhyme,
Or moved, like me, to place his pleasure low,
On the firm Earth, whence Men and Blossoms grow.
-  Ruth Pitter, 1897-1992, Other People's Glasshouses, 1941

 

 

 

"I can tell you, then, that I am afraid of death. Not of what we imagine about death, for this fear is itself imaginary.  Nor of my death whose date will be recorded in the civic registers of the state.  But of that death I suffer every moment, of the death of that voice which, out of the depths of my childhood keeps asking , as yours does: "What am I?" and which everything within us and around us seems bent on stifling. When this voice does not speak - and it does not speak often! - I am an empty carcass, a restless cadaver. I am afraid that one day it will fall silent forever, or that it will wake up too late - as in your story of the flies: when you wake up, you're dead."
-  Rene Daumal, Mount Analogue, 1981 

 

 

A perennial is a plant that would have come back
year after year if it had survived. 
-  Author Unknown  

 

 

"I pray that you will have the blessing of being consoled and sure about your own death.
May you know in your soul that there is no need to be afraid.
When your time comes, may you be given every blessing and shelter that you need.
May there be a beautiful welcome for you in the home that you are going to.
You are not going somewhere strange.  You are going back to the home that you never left.
May you have a wonderful urgency to life you life to the full.
May you live compassionately and creatively and transfigure everything that is negative within you and about you.
When you come to die may it be after a long life.
May you be peaceful and happy and in the presence of those who really care for you.
May your going be sheltered and your welcome assured.
May your soul smile in the embrace of your anam cara."
-  John O'Donohue (1956-2008)l, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, p. 230. 

 

 

If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener.
-  J. C. Raulston

 

 

Fate!  Fate!  All things pass away;
Life is forever, youth is for a day.
Love again if you may
Before the stars are blown out of the sky
And the crickets die;
Babylon and Samarkand
Are mud walls in a waste of sand.
-  John Gould Fletcher, 1886-1950, Mexican Quarter 

 

 

Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old.  Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly contrives.  In all creation, be assured, there is no death – no death, but only change and innovation; what we men call birth is but a different new beginning; death is but to cease to be the same.  Perhaps this may have moved to that, and that to this, yet still the sum of things remains the same.
-  Ovid, Metamorphosis 

 

 

There are no secrets.
It's just we thought that they said dead
When they said bread. 
-  John Cage 

 

 

Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead.  It is going on all the time.  We are in it now.
-  Charlotte Perkins Gilman 

 

 

Everything ends with flowers.
-  Helene Cixous 

 

 

Love this Earth as if you won't be here tomorrow; show reverence for your Garden as if you will be here forever.
-  Scottish proverb

 

 

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning, 
We will come back to earth some fragrant night, 
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending 
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.  
We will come down at night to these resounding beaches 
And the long gentle thunder of the sea, 
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight 
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.
-  Sara Teasdale, If Death is Kind 

 

 

In the garden the door is always open into the "holy" - growth, birth, death. Every flower holds the whole mystery in its short cycle, and in the garden we are never far away from death, the fertilizing, good, creative death. 
-  May Sarton 

 

 

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset.
-  Crowfoot 

 

 

If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds  ...  Given only
the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long. 
-  Wendell Berry,  The Unsettling of America, 1977 

 

 

Pity! The southerly trees have shed their leaves.
Nobody comes to appreciate the mountain's beauty.
Tomorrow I too will float away.
My reflection gone from cool streams.
Cheng Man-ch'ing  

 

 

Earth knows no desolation. She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.
-  George Meredith 

 

 

Keep not your roses for my dead, cold brow
The way is lonely, let me feel them now. 
-  Arabella Smith, If I Should Die Tonight  

 

 

Spring and Summer, Spent
For Others, While Fall Days Lead
To My Wintertime 
-  Author Unknown  

 

 

Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, tomorrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him:
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And - when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening - nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do.
-  William Shakespeare, King Henry VII, 1613 

 

 

There is a kind of immortality in every garden.
-  Gladys Taber 

 

 

Oh roses for the flush of youth,
And laurel for the perfect prime;
But pluck an ivy branch for me
Grown old before my time.

Oh violets for the grave of youth,
And bay for those dead in their prime;
Give me the withered leaves I chose
Before in the old time.
-  Christina Rossetti, Song, 1849 

 

 

A human being is part of the whole called by us "universe" ... We experience ourselves, thoughts and feelings as something
separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.  We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
-  Einstein

 

 

The Spirit of Gardening: Quotations for Gardeners  

 

 

Sometimes prettiness doesn't quite cut it.   I suspect it was partly for this reason that the great eighteenth-century landscape designers always made sure to include a note of mortality in their compositions - a gothic ruin, a forbidding grotto, a scary chunk of statuary.  They wanted the passing cloud of some momento mori to briefly darken the sweet pastoral scene, inducing a tinge of melancholy in the visitor and, perhaps, rendering the pretty more poignant.  William Kent went so far as to plant dead trees in his gardens on the theory that if a garden was to be a world unto itself, it had better make room for the darker shades of feeling
as well as the sunny ones.
-   Michael Pollan, Consider the Castor Bean 

 

 

But well-a-day, the gardener careless grew,
The maids and fairies both were kept away,
And in a drought the caterpillars threw
Themselves upon the bud and every spray.
God shield the stock!  if Heaven send no supplies,
The fairest blossom of the garden dies.
-  William Browne of Tavistock,  1591 - 1643,  Visions 

 

 

When gardening, I have one gift you won't find in any manuals.
I know it's strange, but I can change perennials to annuals.
-  Dick Emmons  

 

 

In the long run we are all dead.
-  John Maynard Keynes  

 

 

After killing off a number of plants inadvertently, it may be hard to face horticultural euthanasia.  ...  But the misfortune of these
mistakes goes beyond a small blot on your garden.  The sad relics are the lessons your are refusing to learn.  ...  After four or five
years you have to make an assessment of your selections and stop nursing along specimens that long for requiescat in pace.  You will be amazed what a lift it will give to your whole garden to be rid of these ghosts.
-  Patricia Thorpe,  Growing Pains, 1994  

 

 

In a few generations more, there will probably be no room at all allowed for animals on the earth: no need of them, no toleration of them.  An immense agony will have then ceased, but with it there will also have passed away the last smile of the world's youth.
-  Marie Louise de la Ramée, The Quality of Mercy, 1900 

 

 

For we must bear in mind that the greater number of garden pictures known to us are taken from tombs.
-  Marie Luise Gothein, A History of Garden Art, 1928  

 

 

Thou are gone from my gaze like a beautiful dream,
And I seek thee in vain by the meadow and stream.
-  George Linley,  1798 - 1865

 

 

 

  
Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
 

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

January

April

July

October

February

May

August

November

March

June

September

December 

 

 

 

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world.
-  Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892 

 

 

Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both give them a glimpse of the terror of life's nothingness.
-  Andre Maurois  

 

 

Do not stand on my grave and weep;
I am not there.  I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in the circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there.  I did not die.
-  Anonymous 

 

 

Shed no tear - O, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more - O, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root's white core.
-  John Keats  

 

 

One of the truest of gardening sayings is that you have to be cruel to be kind.  If things are left to go overgrow, they look out of shape, scale and control.
-  Brian Davis 

 

 

How astonishingly does the chance of leaving the world improve a sense of its natural beauties upon us.  Like poor Falstaff, although I do not 'babble,' I think of green fields; I muse with the greatest affection on every flower I have know from my infancy - their shapes and colours are as new to me as if I had just created them with superhuman fancy.
-  John Keats, 1820  

 

 

For the sake of goodness and love,
Man shall let Death have
No sovereignty over his thoughts.
-  Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain  

 

 

The constant recollection of death is the test of human conduct.
-  Marcus Aurelius  

 

 

For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled.  It can only be denied.
-  Susan Sontag, Illness as a Metaphor  

 

 

Old gardeners never die. 
They just spade away and then throw in the trowel.
-  Herbert V. Prochnow 

 

 

Old gardeners never die, they just go to seed. 
Old gardeners never die, they are just pruned back hard and repotted.
-  Authors Unknown 

 

 

Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime, 
Rot and consume themselves in little time. 
-  William Shakespeare 

 

 

 

Old gardeners do die, and plenty are slowly spading away.
We did not come from dust, nor shall we return to dust, nor are we dust in the wind.
You are deluding yourself if you think that death is an illusion.
Springtime for birth, Summertime for growth; and all Seasons for dying. 
All the living stand on the dead.
The living produce the living, the dead decay into compost.
Everyday, the Angel of Death visits the garden - someday too I will touch Her wing.
Being dead means nothing to the dead.
Honor the dead by showing compassion for the living.
Graveyards and landscape gardens, coffins and flowers - fitting friends. 
-  Michael P. Garofalo, 
Pulling Onions 

 

 

"Look at us", said the violets blooming at her feet,"all last winter we slept in the seeming death... but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you."
-  Edward Payson Rod  

 

 

There the wild flowers spring and the wee birdies sing,
And in sunshine the waters are sleepin',
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Though the waefu may cease frae their greetin'.

Oh, ye'll tak the high road, and I'll tak the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
The Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond 

 

 

Hands tremulous as cherry blossoms kept
Faith with struggling seedlings till the earth
Kept faith with him, claimed him as he slept
Cold in the sun beside his upright spade. 
-  Phoebe Hesketh, Death of a Gardener 

 

 

I do not wish to die -
There is such contingent beauty in life:
The open window on summer mornings
Looking out on gardens and green things growing,
The shadowy cups of rose flowering to themselves-
Images of time and eternity-
Silence in the garden and felt along the walls.
The room is suddenly filled with sun, 
Like a sacrament one can never be
Sufficiently thankful for.  Door ajar,
The eye reaches across from one
Open window to another, eye to eye,
And then the healing spaces of the sky ......
-  Alfred Leslie Rowse 

 

 

Even as a caterpillar, when coming to an end of a blade of grass, reaches out to another blade of grass and draws itself over to it, in the same way the Soul, leaving the body and unwisdom behind, reaches out to another body and draws itself over to it.
Upanishads 

 

 

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
-  Henry W. Longfellow, 1807 - 1882  

 

 

What a sad sight - dead butterflies
Hanging upon a spider's web.
-  Shiki  

 

 

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
-  Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning, 1915 

 

 

The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it.
-  Mary C. Bateson 

 

 

Death is more universal than life - everyone dies but not everyone lives.
-  Author Unknown 

 

 

If I'm ever reborn, I want to be a gardener— there's too much to do for one lifetime! 
-  Karl Foerster 

 

 

“Scatter my ashes in my garden
so I can be near my loves.
Say a few honest words, sing a gentle song,
join hands in a circle of flesh.
Please tell some stories about me
making you laugh. I love to make you laugh.
When I’ve had time to settle, and green
gathers into buds, remember I love blossoms
bursting in spring. As the season ripens
remember my persistent passion.
And if you come into my garden
on an August afternoon
pluck a bright red globe,
let juice run down your chin and the seeds
stick to your cheek. When I’m dead
I want folks to smile and say:
“That Patti,
She sure is some Tomato!”

-   Patti Tana 

 

 

Henry Mitchell, the great 20th century garden writer, reportedly died planting daffodils with his neighbor.

 

 

At last I am leaving:
in rainless skies, a cool moon ...
pure is my heart
-  Senseki, 
Japanese Death Poetry  

 

 

flow2.gif (27433 bytes)

 

 

Of all footprints, that of the elephant is supreme.  Similarly, of all mindfulness meditations, that on death is supreme.
-  The Buddha 

 

 

Come to the sunset tree!
The day is past and gone;
The woodman's axe lies free,
And the reaper's work is done.
-  John Milton  

 

 

The rustling of the silk is discontinued,
Dust drifts over the courtyard,
There is not sound of footfall, and the leaves
Scurry into heaps and lie still,
And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath them:
A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.
-  Ezra Pound, 1885-1972, Liu Ch'e  

 

 

The implication of the content of the Yasai Hehan is that the issue of life and death for all beings, sentient or insentient, always returns to the essential teaching of the Buddha.  Blurring the conventional distinction of things, this message applies as much to vegetables as to humans.
-  Yoshiaki Shimizu, Multiple Commemorations

Vegetable Nirvana 

 

 

Don't think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm.
-  Malayan Proverb

 

 

I take my strength from the mist in the hills
I take my strength from the standing trees
I take my strength from the running stream
I take my strength from the whispering breeze
My heart breaks again, no need to know why
We’re here but for a moment and then we must die.
Foundation for the Law of Time 

 

 

And there were times when one yielded quite shamelessly to the sentimental.  They were more likely to be times of crickets, I
think, than of birds - when it was impossible not to feel, like another essence of the sunlight, the bittersweet of life that lingers about old houses, and places where men have died, and things that forgotten hands have touched.
-  H. G. Dwight, Gardens and Gardening, Atlantic Monthly, 1912

 

 

Worldwide
many suffer -
even as peaches ripen.

Exactly at noon -
the branch cracks,
loaded with peaches.

One by one they drop
on the ground, ripe peaches -
at day's end.
-  Mike Garofalo,
Cuttings  

 

 

In the garden
I will die.
In the rosebush
they will kill me.
-  Garcia Lorca

 

 

Cloud Hands Blog 

 

 

I will garden on the double run,
my rhythm obvious in the ringing rakes,
and trust in fate to keep me poor and kind
and work until my heart is short,
then go out slowly with a feeble grin,
my fingers flexing but my eyes gone gray
from cramps and the lack of oxygen.
-  Richard Hugo, The Way a Ghost Dissolves 

 

 

I don't feel good.
-  Luther Burbank's last words 

Oh Wow!  Oh Wow!  Oh Wow!
-  Steve Jobs last words 

This is the last of Earth!  I am content!
-  John Quincy Adams last words 

I'll sleep well tonight
-  Henry Ford's last words 
 

Last Words

 

 

Cold Mountain Buddhas
Han Shan and Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing 

 

 

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness be dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

-  T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets - East Coker # 130, 1943 

 

 

I am spending delightful afternoons in my garden, watching everything living around me.  As I grow older, I feel everything
departing, and I love everything with more passion.
-  Emile Zola 

 

 

Be happy while you're living,  
For you're a long time dead.
-  Scottish Proverb 

 

 

Birth, copulation, and death. That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks.
-  T. S. Eliot,  Sweeney Agonistes 

 

 

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. 
-  May Sarton 

 

 

My robe hangs in the garden,
dripping like a tree.
One day I'll step
out of my body
exactly like this.
It's easy to die.
Just give your breath
back to the trees
and the wind.
-  Peter Levitt, 100 Butterflies 

 

 

If you rest, you rust.
-  Helen Hayes

 

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
-  King David (circa 950 B.C.) Bible, Psalm 23 

 

 

To the fuki plant, dandelions, and their kind that lie for long patiently under the fallen snow, comes the season of breezy spring.  No sooner do they see the light of the world, stretching their longing heads out from the cracks in the snow, than they are instantly nipped off.  For these plants isn't the sorrow as deep as that of the child's parents whose child had accidentally died?  They say everything in the plant and tree kingdom attains Buddhahood.  Then they, too, must have Buddha-nature.
-  Kobayashi Issa, The Spring That Is Mine, 1815  

 

 

Gardening for food is one of the most important ways in which we can encourage positive health.  I would also suggest that this links directly to our conceptions of death as a society.  By attempting to create boundaries between death as life and distance ourselves from processes of decay, I feel that we cut ourselves off from process of life, such as the process of growing food, of touching the earth (literally), making compost and the realization that rotting is the precursor of fertility and growth.
-  Joanne Tippett,
Death, Sex and Gardening  

 

 

Wherever humans garden magnificently, there are magnificent heartbreaks. 
-  Henry Mitchell  

 

 

DANCE
Written by a teenager terminally ill with cancer.

"Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. 
Don't dance so fast. 
Time is short.  
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day 
On the fly? 

When you ask "How are you?" 

Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done 
Do you lie in your bed 
With the next hundred chores 
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down 
Don't dance so fast. 
Time is short. 
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, 
We'll do it tomorrow? 

And in your haste, 
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, 
Let a good friendship die 
Cause you never had time 
To call and say,"Hi!"

You'd better slow down. 
Don't dance so fast. 
Time is short. 
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere 
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day, 
It is like an unopened gift.... 
Thrown away.

Life is not a race. 
Do take it slower 
Hear the music 
Before the song is over."

 

 

 

 

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The Spirit of Gardening Website


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