Poetry Friday

The Lost Garden
~ Dana Gioia

If ever we see those gardens again,
The summer will be gone—at least our summer.
Some other mockingbird will concertize
Among the mulberries, and other vines
Will climb the high brick wall to disappear.

How many footpaths crossed the old estate—
The gracious acreage of a grander age—
So many trees to kiss or argue under,
And greenery enough for any mood.
What pleasure to be sad in such surroundings.

At least in retrospect. For even sorrow
Seems bearable when studied at a distance,
And if we speak of private suffering,
The pain becomes part of a well-turned tale
Describing someone else who shares our name.

Still, thinking of you, I sometimes play a game.
What if we had walked a different path one day,
Would some small incident have nudged us elsewhere
The way a pebble tossed into a brook
Might change the course a hundred miles downstream?

The trick is making memory a blessing,
To learn by loss the cool subtraction of desire,
Of wanting nothing more than what has been,
To know the past forever lost, yet seeing
Behind the wall a garden still in blossom.

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2 thoughts on “Poetry Friday”

  1. dear Katie,

    this poem really struck a chord with me. Hugh and I so loved our walks each day, and I pictured a special place this piece conjured up. walking alone, now, is sometimes so bittersweet, but I try to remember all the joy of us two soaking up all the beauty and savoring it. I am going to write down this poem to read in that place, recalling how my Beloved would stop suddenly at some particularly beautiful spot to embrace me and say, “I kiss you here at this vine-covered wall’ or, fill in the blank of some other charming site…”the trick is to make memory a blessing, to learn by loss the cool subtraction of desire, of wanting nothing more than what has been, to know the past forever lost, yet seeing behind the wall, a garden still in blossom”, is the part that I am sure will bring back the US-ness for a moment, still savoring what is behind the wall. thank you!

    much love,

    Karen xox

    1. Beautiful and touching, Karen. Thank you so much. People say that time heals, but I think we just get used more used to loss as a matter of survival. And what a gift when you can look at memory and realize that the joy of know it happened has finally outstripped the pain of the loss.


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