Amelia’s Garden

Amelia’s Garden

                                                                                            The Secret ~ Philip Brent Harris


Jacob Jonathon Johansson-Jost,
a poet, scholar, philosopher to most,
In his eyes, he’s failed, though only he sees,
Yet, he is proud, chin held high, with dignity.

After breakfast, he pauses in his study doorway
lighted by the windows that face the garden,
her garden, Amelia’s garden.
He turns and surveys the room.
He smiles, his morning ritual;
everything placed according to its purposed,
tidy, but in no way clinical.
Amelia’s arrangement, he thinks,
as he steps into the room.
Moss-green carpet cushions his slippered feet,
a lover’s tender touch, sweet caress

How long, he wonders;
though he knows, to the minute, the moment.
Lord, how he misses her.

He comes to himself, notices the changes,
shadows fuller; in the garden
a hummingbird hovers,
zips away and is lost in the Azaleas.

His leather office chair, no longer pristine,
cradles him as he gently rocks, rocks.
All unconscious, he runs his fingertips along
the near edge of his chestnut desk, center out,
following the blood-dark evidence
he has done this before.
He is somewhere, somehow aware
of the carefully polished desk, reflecting
a distorted vision of his face
true vision of Amelia’s love.

Brilliantly sparkling morning dew
Mercurial, a bird on the wing
Volcano’s volatile fire, strength of stone
Fruit from barren soil
Root, bole and branch
His Amelia, everything

Pleased as a lonely man can be,
he pulls his notebook close.
Using the green ribbon bookmark,
his favorite color,
because it had been hers,
he turns to the page.

He stops.

His eyes open wide.
His breath quickens.
On this page,
so close to the end,
the ink is smeared.

Disaster, disaster, disaster.
Always the servant
not the master.

What can he do?
His heart races.
What will he do?
Who can know how much,
how little time remains
before he ceases to matter,
ceases to be.

Jacob Jonathon Johansson-Jost,
a poet, scholar, philosopher to most,
in his eyes, he’s failed, though only he sees.
Yet, he is proud, chin held high, with dignity

No time, no time.
Stolen like his angelic Amelia.
He cannot start again,
go back to the beginning,
when he is so close
to the denouement, the end.
Why had he stopped, failed?
So few pages left
all would be ruined
unfinished, finished,
victim of Morpheus.

He had been so tired.
More than simple fatigue,
he feels it even now
after a night of sleep,
so-called rest.
Ghosts of unspoken words,
unwritten moments
cling to his cuffs,
tangle in his hair
weigh down his head,
as though in prayer.
Stilling his hands,
they hold him back,
bereft, vanquished,
captive to what is missing,
what he is missing.

I am a fool, a charlatan,
he thinks, he knows.

Is it something in the air,
the light, this moment
that tells him, persuades him
inks-smears, blots on the page,
Rorschach reminders
of his futility
cannot, must not matter?

He’s been careful, meticulous.
His desk laid out
as if a magic symbol,
there are no sharp corners
no straight lines,
his alchemical tools.
Room for his notebook,
the pens he loved to hand,
near her photo
remind him
of her gift.

He always carries
at least one pen,
the one she gave him
twenty-five years ago.
Usually, he carries many more,
practical talismans
connecting him
to the pad he carries
always and forever.

Thoughts and phrases fill it,
as well as scribbles,
marginal notes and
interlinear musings.

to drive the darkness away,
hold it at bay.
Still, it follows
like Marley’s fell chain.
He feels it
looming, threatening
to overwhelm him.
His words, weighted
sharpened, drive forward,
a spear thrust
into the unknown.

Still, Jacob judges
himself Quixote,
tilting at windmills,
phantom giants
of loss, memory, mystery.

No time, no time.
He cannot start again,
go back to the beginning,
when he is so close
to the end.

There, the page
flawed forever
like Lady Macbeth’s
damn spot, a stain,
never cleansed,
it remains.
Amelia’s specter
urges him to honesty
confession, reclamation.

He must, he will
this time
admit his failure
followed not from fatigue
but from fear.
Frightened his tome,
his treasure,
conceived and crafted,
created to convey his love
a memento mori
to and for Amelia
will fail.

Brilliantly sparkling morning dew
Mercurial, a bird on the wing
Volcano’s volatile fire, strength of stone
Fruit from barren soil
Root, bole and branch
She made his world sing

What a weak vessel
he has proven
unworthy to this test
to his self-appointed task.

Again, he forsakes
his commitment,
sabotages himself,
rather than face
the true test.
Amelia’s judgement,
never harsh, never cruel,
simply honest, held him
to her high standard
demanded he be
his best self.

Stalked by darkness.
Still, it follows,
drags at his will
like Marley’s fell chain.
Gloom, looming, threatening
to overwhelm him,
consume him.
His words, weighted
a sharpened lance
thrust into the unknown.

Still, Jacob judges
himself no St. George
slaying the dragon
of his loss, misery.

No time, no time.
He cannot start again,
go back to the beginning,
when he is so close
to the end.

His head hangs low,
the heels of his hands
press his eyes,
hold back his tears.
What are a few more
smears, stains
on the page
upon his soul?

Thinks he,
brings his head up.
He knuckles away
time’s mist from his eyes
tears from his cheeks.
He cannot believe
how blind he has been,
neither the staggering
simplicity of his
realization, a revelation
nor the horror
in what he now knows.

His need corrupted him.
Unwilling to face
the disconnection
of the love
which made him
he confined Amelia
to the prison of his
intellect, static forever.

By imprisoning her
he became neither
soulmate nor lover,
only warden.

Still time, still time,
though he will not
start over, begin again
when he can strike through
the smeared ink
which he unknowingly created
to trap himself
as well as her.

He rails against
all gods, fates, destiny,
curses his eyeless insanity,
callous disregard,
vainglorious ignorance.
Instead of sculpting
a monument, bright paean
to his wondrous love,
he has piled excrement
onto an ever growing
dung heap to feed his vanity.

Where she sparkled,
diamonds of morning dew
he built walls,
tawdry glass reflections.
He clipped the wings
of her mercurial flight,
quenched her volcanic fire,
chiseled away her obdurate nature
until he held only pebbles
to roll in his hand
like teeth or rosary.
He salted her fertile soil
killing root, bole and branch
fruitless, his alone
the tuneless voice
his dreary, mournful dirge
sinfully sang.

What had been sacred
he’d rendered profane,
expectant luminosity
marred and mundane.

Her heart within
his heart, softly
echoes his heartbeat,
rhythm of his being

His head hides it,
disguises it
as a ticking clock,
the metronome of time.

Thought fears it,
shuns it,
transmutes the gold
of its urgency.
Gilds his memory
in false sentiment.
Gussies up his loss, sorrow
in vulgar garb
pleasing to the eye
yet empty.

He accepted a cheap knockoff
in place of the love
he lived for and would
freely have died to save.
Love he nearly strangled
with his twisted rope
his grief.

He chooses now
to bind his fear,
shackle his longing.

He pulls his notebook close
casually strikes through
his errors and
turns the page.
He writes the next line
her story, his story
their story.
He examines
the pieces
of their shared

With the clever hands
of love’s care,
he strengthens places
which have grown worn
from neglect, ill-use.
He stretches her essence
until it again fits snugly,
before stitching it in place
like Pan’s shadow.

Feeling whole for
the first time since
she died, filled
with love
which had never
been lost.

Although he concealed it
from himself, thought it
ugly, stunted, dead,
love embraced him.
He found and faced
the truth of his neglect.
He finally understood
that both his confession
and misplaced love
were nothing more
than he already knew.

Jacob Jonathon Johansson-Jost,
A poet, scholar, philosopher to most,
Nourishes now the seeds of love for you, for me.
In his lapel, a flower from her garden
So all may see.



Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength, Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment


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See more of my creative offerings and opinions at:

Brent Harris Fine Art

Philip Brent Digital Art

Vida Voices

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