Marvin Lurie

In The Garden

I: Lives
Why do you sit on hard rocks at the river
and think the roiling current makes you immortal
when you can see swirling past all the other lives?

Go to the edge of the water at sunrise. Listen
to the geese calling. Let your feet get wet with dew. Tell me
why you say the geese flying away tell us our lives?

Bring me a teaspoon of morning mist. Tell me
how many raindrops there are. Teach me
to hear a rainbow singing and the wind that foretells our lives.

You saw strangers on the road and called to them
but they did not stop. They were hurrying
to the next brighter thing. They were our lives.

I looked for you at the circus parade,
but the clowns and acrobats lured you away.
You ran after them shouting to be let into their lives. 

If you come back in spring, I will come out to meet you
in the garden. We can read our futures in the clouds,
at night listen to the Pleiades tell us our lives.

 

II: Gates
If you come back in summer, you must find your way 
through thickets and walled gardens 
on a winding dusty road opening and closing gates. 

Wind is the earth's prophet, dust its prophesy.
I will wash the dust from your feet with cool water
to refresh you from your journey, opening and closing gates.

To the sun you are a shadow,
to the moon a reflection walking
through dream after dream, opening and closing gates.

You will see a man who can only walk
in one direction. If you call out to him,
he will keep on walking, opening and closing gates.

The man is leading people to the next place.
No one can come back from there. They are hurrying
to keep up with him, opening and closing gates.

Turn away from the man who only walks in one direction.
If you become lost, I will come out on the road
to find you, opening and closing gates

 

III: You
If you come back through the snow in winter
follow the smoke from my fire.
I will come out to the garden gate when I see you.

The sun and the moon are my companions.
Their long winter shadows slide across the snow
to mark the short days and long nights till I see you.

Shadow is the sun's servant, time its burden
carried endless days from dawn to dusk. Its arc
will strand you in the night and I will never see you.

Do not believe the night sky. Its restless stars are dreams
from before time to turn you around and back.
If you follow them, I will never see you.

Everything is burning. Our lives melt away
and the dark rushes in. Sit in the light of my fire.
Time burns more slowly when I see you.

Dawn will shatter crystal on burnished snow.
Winter Anna's will blaze rubies and emeralds,
gifts from the garden when I see you.

 

IV: Walls
Come back through the forest in spring.
I will sit with you in the garden. We will listen to the fountain,
watch the sun pull its shadow over the garden walls.

The moon will dress the statues in silver.
Hold out your hands. They will fill with silver.
Silver will flow down the garden walls.

In spring there will be flowers and sweetgrass,
in summer honey and cool nights, in fall apples and red wine,
in winter you will be safe within the garden walls.

The moon is just the moon. The world
will not be healed while we watch the seasons.
Its sorrows will press against the garden walls.

Tell me stories from the forest of sorrows. 
Sing me its songs. Teach me secret trails
to the world beyond the garden walls.

For the forest will grow in on us.
Shadows will veil the statues and fountain.
Darkness will drive us from the garden walls.

 

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