The garden is in ruins.
Icy curtain draped on frail limbs,
Fragile twigs like human hearts,
Too weak to bear the load.
Sin’s dark weight.
Wreckage upon the brow of earth,
Hopes strewn carelessly.
Brokenness scattered on the ground.
In such a garden the Father once walked.
Clear the fallen boughs,
Pile high monuments to winter’s vain fury.
For spring promises one bright flower.
When did I know I loved you?
A flash of lightning?
No. Or surely I would have remembered.
Not thunder or earthquake.
Dawn on a summer day.
An open window.
A breeze in the early morning.
When the air should be still
There was love.
Some days I drift
Like a leaf,
Settling into the deep.
A place I do not wish to go.
Ought not, but do.
It is dusky place, of remembering
Wishing for yesterday.
Longing for tomorrow,
Where sadness does not
Settle around God’s children
Like leaves in the deep.
I met her in a dream this morning.
We must have been college students.
She had dark hair, I think.
Working on some project or another,
I thanked her for helping me.
And she, leaning at my shoulder,
As I sat at table or desk,
Drew near and our lips touched.
Not a kiss, wet and passionate.
A moment of wondering.
My hand touched her arm.
Then she was gone.
Awakening, I remembered life,
New and fragrant with possibility.
When friendship may have been love.
I wonder what she would think of me now,
after all these years.
Would she remember?
Silly old man.
I only met her this morning,
In a dream.
Cold to the bone.
The trough of green at Baker Park
was white on that frozen day
In the winter of ’55 or ’56.
Sliding like lightning down the slope.
Wishing like thunder it was summer.
Each Midwest town has its water tower.
They are like benevolent gods
Standing above the city.
Names proudly painted on them.
Mythical names —
Born up to the sky on steele arms like offerings.
Declaring to the world,
We are here.
They were farmers while they lived.
Uncounted sunrises and spring plantings.
Uncounted sunsets and harvests.
Lifetimes now frozen in stone,
Set neatly in silent rows.
Like furrows in a new plowed field
Seed waiting for early summer sun.
She is the quiet one,
Wrapped in a magic world of spring and summer;
Of drifting leaves, golden and damp;
Of winter nights after snowfall.
Sitting on a stump she is framed
In the green of the forest maple,
Singing a summer song that my heart remembers.
She is peaceful.
Gliding softly over mirrored images,
Her voice is like the gurgling of the water beneath the boat.
We talk of the mountain
of the maker
of the woodsmoke hanging motionless over the darkening waters
of the first stars of evening,
and the distant sounds of laughter around the fires.
She is like them.
Do you hear the dance?
Water sliding among rocks
Footfalls on the wind.
The sound skips
Sparkles to the ear
This water dance
It laughs, leaps
Calls, “dance with me.”