That frosty night was a harvest for hearts:
nature was nurture in the silent garden.
Too troubled to sleep I’d ventured out
and found intense cold less a burden
than I hoped. Such hunger stirred
my heart’s furrow I could feel
its pang more keenly than the chill
turning my startled breath to cloud.
Gaunt from seasons of loss, regrets
and grief I couldn’t disclose or dispel,
enduring as I had, others’ exits,
I watched that mist of breath, frail
as a ghost fragmenting as I moved,
knew then what I too would become.
No need to go on questioning my pain:
guilt, unresolved, begins the slow death
of the heart. It was clear I must relinquish
the burden of reproof; useless to insist
I’d glean from sorrow a season of joy
or fuel the furrow from its own anguish.
To restore the perishable clay
there must first be silences and rest,
the fallow heart must then reach out
beyond itself for nourishment,
open again to change and chance.
Drawn into, infused by night’s stillness
I could hear the sound behind silence.
I let the garden of night enclose
me astonished at its eloquence:
frost spread the earth like pollen
And close by the honeysuckle fence
even the plum tree’s gaunt repose
could not contain its sense of promise;
leafless now and long in limbs and years,
rocked in earth, its heart endured
to catch generative fire. Drawn
within its generous ambit I sensed
a tremor, one which has no sound.
The tree’s ancient branches caught
and softly held the little moon.
Suddenly I, too, was held
in a moment of pure beauty
and I could see a vision crowning:
old limbs quickening with strange seed,
the moon yellowing like a plum;
a remembered fragrance tantalised
me and I craved to share the moment,
to savour winter’s flowering:
as the moon ripened and branches blazed
more abundant than in summer
with their unaccustomed fruit
I entered tree’s firmament to feast
on tender windfalls of light.