botanic garden prayers


We come to the Gardens to worship the tulips

share stale-bread communion at the pond,

count blessings and ducklings.

Via the conifer way, a spell in the herb garden,

there’s healing and refreshment

fragrance and cool green.



We’re glad that we don’t have to weed these edges

or drive the garbage truck, or clean the loos.

When we get home, forgive us

if we put food scraps down the insinkerator

because we can’t make compost in the apartment,

or forget to plant a native tree when we fly long distance.


Petition and Intercession

The hothouse is full of people and begonias and ferns

the lily pads aren’t big enough, yet, for frogs

and squealing kids try to catch the fish.

Remind us not to grumble when it’s stuffy and humid

(especially in overcoats against the breeze)

or when people stop in front of us, cameras poised where we’re trying to walk,

and the souvenirs are ridiculous prices.


Adoration and Praise

As the tulips die down, roses come into leaf;

there are shady paths to walk on,

poppies, delicate and strong, and the year-round cottage garden.

Worldly-wise teenagers gather for picnics;

middle-aged lovers believe their luck at last;

there are blue and white irises

and opportune seats.



We put our litter in the bin

and resolve to plant our own tomatoes

next year, and reduce our carbon emissions by taking the bus

or walking.



For the daffodils and jonquils, for magnolias and lilies

for colours, shapes and fragrance;

for our city’s public gardens

and the Aotearoa springtime


we give thanks.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh 2011 © bronwyn angela white