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Original Poems: "Abandoned Garden" and "Whispers from an Abandoned Garden" with Commentary

Updated on July 16, 2019
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Fallow Field

A large fallow field south of Hatchlands Farm
A large fallow field south of Hatchlands Farm | Source

Original Poems and the Poet's Predicament

Original poems can spark further iterations of original poems. No poem can ever say everything that it feels in one setting. As it focuses on the right words in the right order, other words in other orders intrude upon the mind, and the mind is forced to choose the best word at that moment.

The sad fact is the next moment or the next day, week, month, or year might suggest further different words and orders. Thus, when a poet abandons a poem, that poet must coerce herself into the abandonment—likely hoping that some future poem can do what this current one seems to be failing in doing.

Luckily, a poet will learn at her own pace just how far to distance the self from the work. The sooner one does that the faster one can move on. The practice of poetry is really not so different from the practice of law, medicine, music—any art or profession. One does at the moment what one can with what one has. Yet, while the lawyer may not be able to return and revise all lawsuits to fit all evidence, and the surgeon may not be able to revise his plan to save a lost patient, the poet will always have the choice of returning to a poem to revise, even after it has been widely published.

Revisiting "Abandoned Garden" and Responding

The following is the original version of the poem titled "Abandoned Garden" from my recently reissued update of Singing in the Silence: Poems of Faith, lengthened and retitled, Singing in Soul Silence: Voices of Faith:

Abandoned Garden

You plowed me planted Your seed,
but did not remain to tend my growing—
You send sun to feed & rain to suckle me.
You send fingers to prod me & pluck my weeds
but without You i grow faint-hearted fruit.

The following is an elongated, poetic response, titled "Whispers from an Abandoned Garden," to the original 5-line lament:

Whispers from an Abandoned Garden

Then the fruit will go its way
Where the moon trails the echo
Of valleys you used to linger in
Where the old ways were never
Near you as the new ways caught
In the wind the isolation of bitterness
And the trees wafting the bunched leaves
To remind you that breezes are not easy.
You underlined my sorrow
And the midst of every day
Hurled night thoughts
Under the window sill
On the rooftop
Where you kept your
Words that waited for the brain
To grow more knowing branches
Like the maple in its waving
Through the storm
You kept me close
But I never knew until
The garden had blanched its soil
And the mud was again calling—
Calling for life, to grow again
To grow, to grow, and grow again.

Poetic Commentary

This commentary offers a stylized poetic piece of prose.

The Space Between Desire and Longing

In my spiritual garden grow many flowers of dream and stem. While I wait for the blossoming of enlightenment, I tend the tiny creation buds. There are no features that dim the moment of strong alluring coffers, where wisdom and speech coalesce. The speaker of the poems remains silent until spoken to; then, in the opening morning light each petal emerges to spray its fragrance on the coming day.

Often the morning will be obstinate, like a flooded valley, piercing monumental obstacles, and then the peace of noon, with sun searing the rims of the mountain, the little moments will march on lightly, ever stepping to the beat of the ancient drum of stillness. And then quarrel will fill the interlude and the buzz of meaning will show itself in the atmosphere of waiting—

On the threshold of song, there is often a bit of hasty doubt that seeps into the space between longing and desire. There are roses there and they will not be denied. Children will burst forth in dance, ringing bells, peeling laughter, spouting their innocence to the wind. And after they change their syllables, they will understand only the gold of measured doubt; they will not leave without assurance of divine love.

The Tops of Trees Scrape the Sky

No one can wait until the fire of duty has burned into streaks of harmony. And then with all the grass and all the violets that burnished the landscape, I will disappear into the balance of night. There will be nothing the stop the tops of trees from scraping the sky. Until the only ladder offers a leg up, the last minted coin will prevail.

We will not let the strands of earthly desire spend our days with impunity. We will stand on the threshold of each season and like a stentorian century, we will understand the day’s advance to be everything we always dreamed of. We will not coddle the anguish that has forced us to behave like weepers on the wind.

No one will say that we did not come here for good measure. We know where we must turn. Our eyes will burn with vision, our ears will scald the blasphemy they have so often endured, our tongues will tell the truth at the turnstile, our noses will inhale the perfumed air of purity, our skin will blend into the brown sand where night never visits and day never drops its anvil of despair over the heads of stylized monarchs.

The wind will slow to a breeze where peace and harmony will find balance in a blend of love, beauty, and truth, and we will then grasp what Eternity holds in Her blessèd palms.

Fainted Hearted Fruit


© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes


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