Our Garden. For My Darling. {poetry}


The texture of love changes as it travels the seasons. The river of passion flows into a stream. The water is deep and cooling.

What once made you breathless now makes you breathe deep.

A low round breath that centers you in place like an anchor. What was once exhilarating and terrifying is now cozy and restful. You are safe and you burrow into your shared nest, cushioned against the sharp edges of life. Together you are a barnacled boat, salt-encrusted, bobbing on the blue body of life. The paint is peeling and the cedar is splintered. A boat with stories.

The love I share with my darling of 16 years is like the comfy jumper that you wear around the home, snug like skin. The elbows are worn and the shape hangs like sleeping bats, but this what you always choose to wear. This is the clothing that feels like home, smells like home. This is the soft wool of comfort. This is the texture of our love. Splintered wood, frayed wool, peeling paint.

This is the texture the Japanese call Wabi-sabi, a beauty that is imperfect and incomplete. Rough and weathered, a rustic simple beauty. This is my darling and I, We peel and splinter, always leaning to the light.

I love the texture of our mornings above all else. Our days start in the inky blackness before the dawn. He brings me a cup of strong tea, as I wake up, and we discuss dreams and the news headlines he has already devoured. This is a time for slowness, for tea, for conversation and reading. Our voices make little chinks in the silence. Whatever failures we possess as humans, they are not apparent in this hour.

Before rushing and planning, before exercise and food, before the human doing of our day, there are these intimate minutes of human being. Tea cups are set aside for coffee cups, or coffee cup because I am always giving up coffee before drifting hopelessly back. The beans are ground and packed just so, because one of us in a Virgo and this is how things must be.

The light changes with the minutes, and the golden crunch of the morning sets us in motion. The day will own us, but for one glorious hour every morning, we will own the day.

Our Garden. For My Darling.

Our garden
has weathered the seasons
sixteen springs and autumns
the trees we planted
in the first flush
reach toward the light
the roots are thick fingers
burrowing into the earth

Our garden is home to
small bright songsters
there is always water for them
and no surprises

The fence is rickety split
like crooked teeth
wild flowers rampage
there is no plan or design
verdant marching growth

The bushes, like messy scribbles
sit with squat pride
we are like the gnarled vines
my darling
we loop and lean
resting and supporting
into and of each other

We sip the morning sun
and occasionally
we bloom flowers.


Bell Harding is a Rumi-loving painter, late bloomer, and poet from Australia. Her home is a vintage caravan called Lou Lou, which likes to roam and is currently resting in a small coastal town in the Northwest. Bell has a degree in fine art, and loves to paint barefoot in the dirt. She seeks beauty, wisdom and adventure in the raw scraped-back landscape, preferring the edges of the continent and avoiding winter. Bell loves to paint, cook plant-based food, and write pretty poems with sharp little teeth. At 44, Bell is still wondering what she wants to be when she grows up. Until that time, she roams, paints and writes.


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