That garden where we knew the quiet moods
Our haven had no pond or lily-pool To frame your face and show the sun true power, But summer fountains blessed us through the cool Quicksilver haze of every passing shower That hurried down the valley just to seek Your thirsty roses, or sent drops to rest Against the harlequin viola's cheek, And left her colors painted in the west - Rain-freshened maple with the spangled bough, What sweet reflections can refresh me now?
White peonies upon the sea of grass Concealed a shaft that held a golden ball. I saw two dolls within the mirrored glass: A wizard's oracle, revealing all. If magic rang the Canterbury bells, And set the rowan in a ring of fire, And made birds sing the fairy chant that tells Where beauty sleeps beyond a hedge of briar, It also brought the gift of clarity That whispers, "Wake and choose what you will be."
The clothesline where your snowy banners flew, The berry bushes, high as I could reach, The tranquil household where you warbled through Your simple duties, adding grace to each! That was our little world, a sheltered space Where kindness gave me faith enough to read The signs of hope that fill a barren place: A ragged nest, the pod that hides a seed In ruined gardens, wild and overgrown With ash and maple that the wind has sown.
Drenched by the rain, without a veil to shield Her face from pilgrims' kisses or the weather, A sculpted saint left fading in a field Became a swan and skimmed above the heather. The sun was cold, the sky was frosted grey; Ice follows frost, and swans know when to fly; When autumn comes to me, I'll fly away, But I will make you live before I die, And on the page, your heartbeat will release A whisper, like soft wings that tell of peace.
Published in The Longfellow Journal, Volume XIII