The Garden’s Caregiver. {poetry}


The garden had always been my source of comfort. From the time I was a child to my early adulthood.

Though I could no longer go back there, having moved halfway across the country, I often went there in my mind. When times were hard and my own mental strength failed me, I called upon the garden and it bloomed in my mind.

With every waking moment, I could feel the garden within me, growing. Feeling its touch as invisible vines would slither their way up my legs, and the falling petals from the cherry blossom trees would brush off my shoulders on their way to my feet. However, as I grew, I began to see holes in my garden. There were dark spots where there should be flowers.

It was as if a memory had been plucked from my head and stolen away. It began to be a place of curiosity and questions, not one of solitude and comfort, so I started to look, and I started to write. I would write down what I remembered about the garden, from its lush and pruned flowers and shrubs, its vibrant colors of purples, pinks, and blues.

I wrote for nearly a year until I remembered with a poem, a poem that filled in those missing pieces of my garden.


The garden was lush and pruned
Always looking its best, with greens
And purples, pinks and blues

I remember the grass gliding slowly
Across the tips of my fingers
As I waded through the garden’s body

Beneath a glass dome in the center
Of the flowers is where I would sit
And watch the buzzing bees, pollinating

The butterflies would join me, and soon
After the birds would too. Twittering
And chirping their soft, sweet tunes

I would lay by the pond, clear
And filled with kois and lilies
Dipping my fingers into its coolness

It was refreshing to be in the garden
Always so lush and pruned
Looking its best in all its colors

Summer after summer was spent
Amongst the flowers and insects
In the lovely gated garden

I did not remember the gardener
That kept my haven so sweet
Did not remember until now

When I walked through the dry grass
And the blackened stone that
Surrounded the now cracked dome

No butterflies kissed my nose
No birds sang joyfully to me
And the pond was now empty of life

Behind the pond was where it sat
Dried roses and daisies bunched up
Lying neatly on the cracked rock

It read itself to me, with a hoarse
And raspy voice which matched
The man who lay in the earth below it

Here lies a loving husband,
A tender gardener with a soft
Touch, and I paused on that word
Touch, a soft touch I remembered
And soon, so soon wished to forget
As all the memories came flooding back

How his hand used to glide over
The small of my back and nape of my neck
Then came to rest on the hem of my dress

Adolescent years only filled with the garden
Now tainted with its caretaker’s soft,
Caressing hand which so loved beauty.

A hand which pruned and plucked
And shaped and molded each bud
Into exactly what he wanted

I stared at that rock which marks him
Until the moon shone down on me
Turning the garden back into a dream

Then I turned away from my garden.
His garden, forever. And I walked
Through those large, black iron gates

And I never looked back, and never
Forgot that lush, pruned garden
And its tender’s soft, caressing hand.


Isabelle Call is an author and poet currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work can be found in Wandering Autumn Magazine, Poetry Undressed, The C Word Magazine, and Solstice Poetry. Her work, The Garden’s Caregiver, is a reimagining of Isabelle’s own trauma and the overcoming of it all. Using her usual weaving of the elements of nature and tragedy, she tells a story that resonates with women across the globe.


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