Move, pen, with the vigor of this early, unexpectedly beautiful spring. Move in honour of the forsythias that waved to you this morning. In the laneway forsythia branches draped themselves over the tall garden fence like so many languid Sirens, saying, "Help us, help us escape." I knew that if I got too close to them they would draw me onto the rocks and that would be the end of my ship's journey.
I passed them by, but I stayed on forsythia alert. When I reached the street I saw on my left a huge forsythia that had been allowed to flow, her golden locks streaming like those of a pre-Raphaelite maiden. Oh, for that just-out-of-bed forsythia look, wanton branches offering themselves to all comers.
And then further up the block I found the opposite. When I am empress, I will devise an appropriate punishment for those who dare to prune forsythias into rigid, flat-topped shrubs.
No, let's not go that way. Let's think along the lines of "Mother, forgive them for they know not what they do." These people need re-education, not punishment. As empress I will establish a school for gardening aesthetics and arrange for these louts to be sent for remedial work at the school, where they will learn the following lessons:
Lesson One: forsythias are sacred to spring. Without them there would be one less marker between the freezing days of winter and the balm of soft air on the skin.
Lesson Two: Forsythia grows in long, flowing branches. This is for a reasonnamely, that Mother Nature likes it that way. You lop off those waving branches at your peril. Do you want Mother as your enemy? Let them flow. Let that bush become as big as it wants to. Then glory in it for the length of its three golden flowering weeks.
Lesson Three: You may prune it, if you must, from the base. Please register for Pruning 101.
Lesson Four: If you wish, you may cut a few stalks from the base in February and bring them inside, which will force them to flower early. We deserve to be reminded of their promise during the interminable last weeks of winter, and luckily, forsythia is happy to oblige.
Forsooth, Forsythia, thou are forsworn.
Thine end is near, thy coming death foregone.
Happily thy life's prolonged
by Spring's cool days
(though shortened by its hot sun's rays).
Sooner or later, thy golden locks
will fall to ground, glory betrayed,
thy radiant self replaced
by summer's undistinguished green.
Forsooth, Forsythia, reveal to us again next year,
lest we expire with despair,
thy golden hair.