“The Ninth Garden” (9 vs. The Garden of Night)  by James Schwartz w/ a painting by Moira J. Saucer

The Ninth Garden (9 vs. from the Garden of Night)


I have been wrong before.
Finding silence at the door.
Slumped over in defeat.
Forgetting my frantic feet.


I have been right as rain.
Reeling, dealing carried pain.
Years ago, on this day.
Mother was sent away.


No more would I ever play.
Another Mother gone away.
Such a small square of stone.
Can make one feel so alone.

I am weary and I tire too soon.
Gazing at the buttery shards of the moon.
My step falters in the garden of night.
I have not the strength left to fight.


The light of mourning son.
Felled by distance done.
Held by morning sun.
Night chases where I run.

The night is old: I scream, I scream.
I am youth: I dream, I dream.
The night is cold: I cry, I cry.
Tonight I die, tonight I die.


I search and search where Mom hides.
Slipping in the tears I’ve cried.
Skinning open the heart I pried.
Open and closed to time and tide.

I seek shelter in the beauty of night.
I seek sanctuary by autumn orb’s light.
Beneath my step, beneath my toil.
Remains of history enrich the soil.


I search and lurch to recall.
Where in forests angels fall.
I cannot hear her by call.
It’s my fault, after all.

The night is cold, I pause to rest.
I bow in defeat, clutching night’s breast.
A ribbon of wheat the moonlight paves.
Illuminating the garden of forgotten graves.


I did not know to kiss her king.
When her coming Christ gave wing.
Leaving behind her heart with mine.
Buried in the box of pine.

I am weary and I tire too soon.
Gazing at the buttery shards of the moon.
My step falters in the garden of night.
And I have not the strength life to fight.


Mom! Mom! Hush child: no more!
Here I tear as before.
Fallen uncallen on the floor.
And in silence watch the door.


I can still hear her song.
Sung where memories belong.
I have sung the song before.
I wait still by the door.

Years later far from home,
Across seas I ever roam,
For an other to sing a song,
Of a mother now long gone.


James Schwartz is a poet, writer, slam performer and author of 5 poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America. He currently resides on Nisqually land (Olympia, Washington) Website: literaryparty.blogspot.com.  Twitter @queeraspoetry 

Moira J Saucer @MJSEyesOpened is a disabled poet and visual artist living in the Alabama Wiregrass. She is the Managing Editor of Ice Floe Press, and holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas, (Fayetteville) Creative Writing Program and an MA in English from the University of Delaware. Moira worked for nearly two decades as a p.r./communications executive and professional writer editor. Her poems have been published by Burning House Press, Visual Verse, Mookychick, Fly on the Wall Poetry Press, Failure Bailer, Ice Floe Press, and others. Her debut collection, tentatively titled The Hungry Heart, is forthcoming in 2021 from Ice Floe Press.

Banner Art: Cold Sky at Dusk. A painting by Moira J. Saucer, pastel on paper (2020).

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