Secret garden

Take Your Gifts

Secret garden
O beautiful friend, what gift of mine
Can I dream to give to you this time?
       A morning song?
But morning does not last long;
The passing of hours
Wilts it like flowers
And songs that tire
       Are done.

O friend, when you come to my dark door
And long, long shadows can lengthen no more
       What is it you ask? What shall I bring you?
       A light?
A candle from a secret corner of my silent room?
But will you take it home with you?
And will you see your life anew?
       Alas, the wind will blow it out.

Whatever the gifts that I give to you,
Be they gold for your neck or a floral hue,
       How can they please you?
In time they must surely tarnish and wither.
All that my hands can place in yours
Will slip and through your fingers fall
To be forgotten in the dust;
       To become dust.

But rather you, when you have the time to spare,
Wander through my heart and through the garden there,
And let a hidden flower’s scent startle you
       Into sudden wondering.
       Let that displaced moment be my gift.
Then as you feel your way down a shady avenue,
Suddenly, through the thickly gathered evening,
A single shivering fleck of sunset stops you,
Turning your daydreams to gold,
Pushing back the dark and cold.
       Let that light be an innocent gift.
The truest treasure is transient pure
It sparkles a moment in tempting lure
       Then is gone.
       I know no way to it;
       No hand, nor word can reach it.

Friend, whatever you take of moments like these,
Without asking, without knowing, only to please,
       Let that be yours.
Anything I can give you is less than nothing.
       Be it a candle, a flower, gold, or a song.

I had my memory of this poem (written a couple of years ago) jogged the other day when I was talking to a friend about the nature of true friendship. My friend's idea, which I totally buy into, is that friendship is a kind of gift. Not in a physical sense, although of course friends exchange gifts, but in the sense of experience and atmosphere. The way we project ourselves to our friends, creates a mood of honesty and openness that fosters and sustains the same kind of warmth we feel fleetingly when we receive a tangible gift. In that sense it's more of a commitment than a 'gift', but we give it nonetheless. That's the kind of idea I was trying to describe with this poem, and that's why my memory was jogged.    


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