An Epic Begins

Another work in progress, you might say… I started this a couple years ago and lost the piece of paper I had written it on (!) until recently. It will, one day, be a full-fledged epic poem written in Spenserian verse, and I’m putting up the first stanza so you can get a feel for what I’m working with. I have the content for the second stanza, a few random lines, and a general story in my head, and I’d like your input to help develop it.

Here is the general story: an old gardener lives in a cottage attached to a public garden (like a park) in a city and single-handedly maintains the premises; his “arch-enemy” is a beautiful rosebush, which alternately grows completely out of control or requires an intuitive babying to keep it alive, and the old gardener has just the right touch with it. He takes on a teenage assistant for several summers, a dreamer, and mentors the boy a little, mediates a little between the boy and his father, who wants a more serious-minded son, etc. Then, when the boy goes to college, he and the gardener grow out of touch and don’t see one another for years. One night the old gardener is awaked to the sounds of a scuffle in his garden, and he finds the boy, now a young man, in trouble. He saves the boy but has seen “too much” (what was going on, I haven’t decided… a date rape? a gangster deal? …) and the boy kills him, unsuspecting, and buries the old gardener beneath the rose bush, which then proceeds to grow uncontrollably, encroaching on and taking over much of the rest of the garden.

That’s all I know. Much of the symbolism, themes and such will, I think, evolve as I write it, but you now know about as much as I do. Here’s the first stanza; leave me your thoughts.

The midsummer’s morn was pale as chill
Death, and night warred mightily still ‘gainst the redd’ning light
But of slumber the earth had drunk her fill –
Upon her carpet she scattered dew-diamonds bright,
Heralds she sent, with cheerful song and winged flight
And at the bottom of the hill, in the little cottage,
Woke the gardener, who, weak in knee and dim of sight
Still ruled and tended her, and from her recieved homage
Kingly; so he rose, and supped his morning pottage.


One thought on “An Epic Begins

  1. Cool idea Jason! I heard an NPR piece a while back about competitive rose gardening; maybe the boy betrays the gardener to sell the secrets of the rose bush to a competitor of some kind..


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