Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Spring Cleaning can be a chore or a chance for discovery. Who knows what you’ll come across when you’re dusting, going through drawers, opening old boxes or rearranging books on a shelf?
Such was the case recently when SurfWriter Girl Patti Kishel found a slim, blue volume of poems entitled The Lambent Glow, written by a long-ago family friend, Abigail Heaton.
Seeing the book brought back vivid memories even though Patti only met the author once on a visit to her home perched high in the Pacific Palisades above Malibu Beach.
“I was only four or five years old,” Patti recalls, “and I remember my mother telling me we were going to visit her dear friend Auntie Heaton, as she called her, and see her beautiful garden. She also said that I would need to be on my best behavior because Auntie Heaton wasn’t used to having children running around her house.”
Fortunately, Auntie Heaton turned out to be the perfect hostess with tea and plates of sandwiches and cookies on the table. And an amazing garden filled with bright flowers, exotic plants and sea breezes.
Patti couldn’t wait to investigate it. Just as she couldn’t wait to read Abigail Heaton’s poems again when she took the book down from the shelf.
A cottage on a mesa
Feels not her low degree
For her near neighbors are the mountains,
A canyon, and the sea.
She glances down the canyon’s side
And oh, what she sees:
A silver brook and a waterfall
And overhanging trees.
And through the long siesta
She draws aside the screen
Of the canyon’s hidden recesses
And the deep ravine.
The birds in their green leaf cages
Flit and chat and sing:
Then fly away to a vine trapeze
And swing and swing and swing.
The ocean sends a playful breeze
To drive away the dream,
And the sun who speeds on his westward course
Awakes her with a beam.
The mesa lies in sweet repose
In serenest light,
And the cottage in the lambent glow
Pulsates with delight.
By the time she wrote her poetry book Auntie Heaton’s eyesight was fading. But the indelible images of her cottage home and tranquil garden in the palisades above the sea stayed with her and made their way into her poems.
And now – many years later – those images in the newly discovered book are still fresh and full of wonder.
Our jasmine is a chemist
Who makes a rare perfume
And seals it in small bottles
And hides it in her bloom.
Then at the rightful moment
She opens wide the jars
And sends with exultation
Her incense to the stars.
SurfWriter Girls know Abigail Heaton would be pleased that others are enjoying this glimpse into her garden…where every plant and flower brought so much joy.
Our cotoneaster tree
Is an oriental canopy;
It offers the inviting shade
Of leaves cut from the precious jade,
And over this inverted bowl
Are coral beads to deck the whole.
As you admire your own surroundings or make spring cleaning chance discoveries, we wish you fond memories and visions that pulsate in delight.
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