The Secret Garden

"Backyard Treasures" by Tom Sierak, original pastel

click to enlarge

Men seek war
as women seek birth.
The two places where
all the merchandising stops.
The ordinary screeches to a halt.
What remains is one tenuous line
staking out the here
from there.
Here, every breath counts,
and each breath unaccounted for is pain.
Focus honed to a pin point,
the peripheral widens to full circle.
We break through the continuum
to where nothing can be counted on,
yet everything for one brief firefly yes
lives unafraid.
Hospice workers and the night nurse
know the secret too. Angel ushers,
they make their home on the razor’s edge.

But all of us though unconfessed,
have had our moments in the day-to-day,
when unexpectedly the cage bars snap
or stretch like toy rubber, and we slip through
undiscovered to another view. The clatter
and the clanging suddenly gone,
and we gone too, in some surprising way.
But very there, caught up
in an unbearable fullness.
We take in the brilliant brimming, wide-eyed,
and from this other side we look back,
determined that the madness now will stop.

Then slammed home again without our asking,
where things move slow and thick like yesterday.
Counted, measured, justified, explained.
We make no mention of it in the commerce
of our day. Things slug along,
no war, no birth.
But secretly we hug the harbor in our memory.
Time and time again we struggle to return
as best we can to those quick fly song moments
when by grace remembered,
we forgot the weight.

Copyright © 2000 Susan Dane • All rights reserved.
Selection from GOOD-BYE TO WHITE KNIGHTS and other moving vehicles—V. From the Other Side.
Painting: “Backyard Treasures” by Tom Sierak, original pastel.