My Dying Garden

On the cusp of my last child graduating from high school and making plans for his future, I decided that I would go back to college. My year of return was satisfying. My thirst for learning was insatiable.  The whole academic adventure was enlightening. Creative Writing class was my heaven.

My timing was not very good as my middle child was already going to William Carey while my son had yet to choose where he wanted to attend. I should have stuck it out but finances were slim for the three of us to be going to school. I never graduated from college but I wish I had. Because of my love for learning at the time I was in ‘danger’ of becoming the eternal student. My only achievement while at college was to make the Dean’s List and to place in the James LaRoache Poetry contest sponsored by the campus magazine. My only regret was that I did not finish.

My time in college gave me the courage to go ahead with my dream of becoming a published poet. I offer one of my poems here because a fellow blogger’s post today( brought it to mind. She and I have learned the hard way of life’s cruel seasons. Her post was more about revival and how life is a cycle. My poem was written because I was feeling the empty nest becoming my reality with my youngest child, Brandon, about to leave us for college. Little did I know then that my “dying garden” would be more about the finality of his life here as I used the metaphor of a garden. I knew I would lose my children to the natural leaving that children do, but I wish I never had to know the leaving that death has caused.

My Dying Garden

The soil was fertile

and accepted the seeds,

growing flowers in three colors.

I nurtured them and watched

as they flourished.

I kept the weeds away ~

until my knees and back ached from the work.

And I could see the season coming

that would take them all away

but I continued anyway…

I would enjoy the beauty in its brevity.

And they survived torrential rain,

drought, pestilence, frost,

thriving under my care.

Then the dark caterpillar raised its head

warning of the season I dreaded ~

winter was headed this way.

The blooms would shed and blow away.

And I tried to brace myself for

a thoughtless climate that would

 keep me cold and make me lonely.

I cried for the loss and

looked away from this hard place

impervious to my tears.

Dale Jordan Heath

from “Diamonds In Dishwater”  ©1997


6 thoughts on “My Dying Garden

  1. This is beautifully written, Dale. As I read, I imagined my three “flowers” growing and then their blooms shredding and blowing away. Thinking an empty nest was the thing that I dreaded, I, like you, never thought the emptiness would be so much more than that, an emptiness that never ends. Hugs, dear friend.

  2. That’s a beautiful poem, Dale! About college…at least you had more available time with Brandon Bear–a far better trade off…

    Love ya (and your poetry),


    • Thank you, Donna. Good byes to our children at any time in our lives is something we would rather not say, right. But no matter how much time we had with them it will never be enough. Thankfully there are only Hellos in Heaven!! Love and Brandon bear hugs to you!!

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