It has been a good summer for our herbs. It is always a pleasure to walk onto the back deck or further into the yard to pick some herbs as dinner is in preparation. Rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, or my favorite, mint. Just to rub mint as you pass it and enjoy the smell it exudes is so good. Mint is good with tea, also good with watermelon and being in Kentucky it is especially good for that Derby cocktail mint julep. I recently stumbled across the poem Mint by Seamus Heaney. He stirs such a wonderful memory of his own childhood when the mint was growing at the back of the house, hardly noticed! The link below will take you to Heaney reading this poem. Please remember that poems are written to be read aloud and here we hear why. Take a moment to read his poem and even find yourself reading it aloud, hopefully with a cup of tea with some fresh mint or better yet with a mint julep to hand! Please pay careful attention to the last two stanzes of the poem, here Heaney takes us beyond just this green herb into the deeper and the more serious soil of the soul. Cheers.

MINT by Seamus Heaney
It looked like a clump of small dusty nettles
Growing wild at the gable of the house
Beyond where we dumped our refuse and old bottles:
Unverdant ever, almost beneath notice.

But, to be fair, it also spelled promise
And newness in the back yard of our life
As if something callow yet tenacious
Sauntered in green alleys and grew rife.

The snip of scissor blades, the light of Sunday
Mornings when the mint was cut and loved:
My last things will be first things slipping from me.
Yet let all things go free that have survived.

Let the smells of mint go heady and defenceless
Like inmates liberated in that yard.
Like the disregarded ones we turned against
Because we’d failed them by our disregard.

Holy and eternal God,
I come to You with my prayer
conscious that life is
so short,
so uncertain.
Painfully aware that
the mind can go off track
and memory become confused.
Yet, for this moment
might I enjoy all that is
and fret not about what might become.
With that taste of fresh mint
refresh my soul, and let me treasure
all that I can recall.
You, O Lord, spell the
promise and newness of life in
the back yard of our life.
To You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I offer this prayer. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Mint

  1. Memory for scent is powerful and can be so pleasurable; my grandmother’s face powder, bleached linens drying in the sun of her backyard, and the mint growing on the side of her house. It never meant a thing until as young children we were allowed to pick it and discover its memorable taste. At the time, it seemed a grown up and elegant taste.I have always loved the taste as well as its beauty as a simple garnish. It was mint that allowed me to politely sip a soup in Greece that had a fish head floating in it. It was mint crushed into cold butter for biscuits that made something ordinary extraordinary. And mint seems just plain happy as it grows and spreads easily. I had not known the poem before, and yes, it does indeed take us far beyond the simplicity of the green herb.

    Your prayer is especially lovely and expresses much truth and hope. Thank you, Edward.


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