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The mossy stones askew with time and gradient’s push,
No longer the mason’s pride and steadfast barrier
To uncultivated Nature’s ineluctable advance,
Meant that the old mill stream garden was no longer discernible.
All paths and lawns and flower beds were submerged
Beneath a sea and scented wave of wild garlic;
The gazebo was now a mouldering pile of rot-wood ruin.
But there, in the middle of a wild wooded nowhere,
In the middle of beech and willow and brambled thicket,
Stood a half-forgotten magnolia tree,
Exotic, ancient, outspreading, outstanding,
And self-assured in all its luminous beauty,
Every petal open to the last crimson gleams of the setting sun;
Just like the memory of the one ecstatic moment
In a wild and dreary season of uncultivated mediocrity.