Botanical Gardens

From the Lost Poetry Project

This Sunday morning constitutional
finds us traipsing across the stubby field,
over the earthen wall of the dam
where a couple of Egyptian geese meditate
or drowse in a circle of brown water.
We rise toward the morning light, 
climbing toward trees, seeing the rolling
grassy joins and planes of the Botanical Gardens
lay themselves out like an architect's drawing:
the pencilled city an imagined hum
on the horizon.
                           Marching along, one eye
on the roving dog. Uniformed plovers in a line
keep watch amid a few tall blades of grass.
Two break away, yapping, running decoy.
We crest the hill; pausing to draw breath, 
to look back. This is the way that we
have come. This is where we are.

The sky reaches, hazy, poignant,
over our heads. The sky today is the 
delicate, light-filled blue I remember
as a small boy plunging my arm into the salt
shock of the rock pool, grasping for starfish,
anemones; or hunting with a muslin net
bound with wire to a length of knotty bamboo
or pale dowel for snail-green fish that
flicked through watery weeds. I remember too
the blue eye, tender, all-seeing, that peered
through shimmering leaves, onto a circle of grass
in Newlands Forest, onto white knees,
skirts, a girl's arms and lips and face:
the marvel of trusting flesh and
miracle of first love.
                                   The boy that I recall
is not the same man who pauses near you, here.
Perhaps the light is different, after all. 
The Botanical Gardens, in this mild sunlight, 
stretch before us like a tracing; the contours,
the trees, the cyclists and walkers,
the stilted plovers, the quiet open spaces,
a sketch only, the colours implied. And we, also,
stand in a harder light. Trial and error
have taught us that some things
can not be shared between us, can not be said.
Some things, we've come to accept, 
are not - are possibly never - to be. And yet,
yet the light moves me, this soft bright
autumnal morning; the boy reminds me.
Lost in our thoughts, we gaze out, separate -
but, inevitably and still, joined together
by the passing years: responsibilities, children, 
laughter, friendship, tears.
                                              The wind stirs.
I turn, as if some presence urges. As if the sky
is hurling meteor showers, cosmic dust, asteroid fragments.
But then, without a word being spoken, our feet
have found the path again. Some subject occurs:
your voice beside me as I go, and other voices calling.


2 Comments

    1. Thank you for reading and for responding. These archeological layers in our beings are so complex, arent they? How one digs them up, and examines them, I dont really know. Indirectly, I guess, through words and images, and still most of it eludes our grasp.

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