Winter Garden


“Cursed be the social lies that warp us from living truth!’–Tennyson, “Locksley Hall”

The sleepers lie so deep,
their gardens go unplanted.
Their summer song unsung forever,
the spring-words half-remembered.
The rose and the smell
of running water here.
And then a voice
that tries to find itself,
to speak the saddest silence.

It is said the sleepers
never wake to rise,
only babble with their bedmates,
discuss the latest zygote
or virtual reality,
unplugged from the umbilical
cords of imagined souls.

The sleepers dance in masques
of nightmare shapes.
All-serious now, they
bury their affections
in cozy plots of work and reason,
complain of what they miss
on full-moon nights,
refuse the cracks of entry
to another life in stars.

It is said the sleepers put
themselves to sleep at last
with dreams of tv,
mortgages and murder.
They give up hope and try
to plant themselves in vain,
their only seedlings
dust of secret song.

In the great shared cemetery
of heart and mind,
the sleepers stretch their forevers
in separate pallets,
ache to recall a recurring dream:
the sprouting wings of distant love.


This poem about the `saddest silence`owes something to T.S. Eliot and works like Four Quartets and “The Hollow Men”. Death-in-life existences and buried lives are not hard to find; there are days when they seem all-too-common. I think the alternate choices are fairly clear here. They have a lot to do with living out dreams and love; sometimes these two are totally antithetical to the customary modes of work and reason. People often settle for less, in my opinion. As I have said before, too often `we do it to ourselves` in our choices. And so many gardens remain wintry and many “secret songs`go unsung.

(reprint from September, 2012)

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