There was a gathering once in the garden of my heart –
phantom playmates culled from the magic mirror
of memory, anonymous voices who cried out loud
from city street corners, from exotic moonshine temples,
ancient battlefields, lonely arcades, from seething realms
of flashing light -- so many faces drawn from a darkness
that I myself, in retrospect, had been too dark to see.
All were smiling, circling, their ghostly hands entwined
for the sake of happiness, happy as a spring-green day
infused with the blissful promise of summer.
Entranced by the dance, I could not see beyond myself
to the spaces in between myself, nor with advancing autumn
could I bear to face the raw clarity of my own certain death,
nor contemplate the enormous silence of my own absence.
Now, in the deeper purity of a frozen garden scene,
nothing falls or rises up to be known or forgotten –
no laughter, no weeping, no anticipation or regret,
no dancing in a swoon of life, no looming death,
no yearning for some promised one, nor anything
I could praise or blame for the emptiness
of all that changes, or the emptiness
of what stays the same.
Like the flowerless stem of a rose in winter
whose colorful petals have all dropped off,
I stand stock still in the brittle frost –
a poem without words, a dance
with no movement.
In the sky above, a fading shine
accentuates the silence.
In the chill air, a subtle scent
of approaching snow.