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GARDENS OF SILENCE

        A poem by Joyce Moseley-Sweeney

I amble through my garden gazing on
    Papery pink Hollyhocks stretching skyward,
    Golden Sunflowers nodding toward the sun,
    Scarlet Sweet Peas twining over a willow trellis,
    Orange Nasturtiums trailing along the ground.
The garden path stretches before me
    Lined with bleached sea shells,
    Dotted with smooth stones,
    Sprinkled with polished sea glass,
    Treasures from sun drenched beaches.
Smelling flower essences, I touch tender grasses
    Surrounded by silence;
    Deaf to insects’ buzzing,
    Deaf to breezes stirring through leaves,
    Deaf to twittering birds high in the apple tree.
I think of my mother’s garden in a distant desert land
    Wild with scarlet Hollyhocks growing helter skelter,
    Prickly with cactus penetrating baked soil,
    Littered with pottery shards found in desert ruins,
    Strewn with rocks found on desert walks.
Remembering the smell of dry dust in her garden,
    I was surrounded by silence;
    Deaf to the lizard’s scramble,
    Deaf to the hot wind’s rustle,
    Deaf to the morning dove’s coo.
Once I sat beside my mother’s grave,
    A mound of red desert earth covering her worn out body;
    Surrounded by Hollyhocks and prickly cactus,
    Littered with pottery shards and desert rocks,
    Strewn with seashells, smooth stones and polished sea glass.
Lying on the warm blanket of her earthen grave,
    I thanked my mothers of earth and flesh
    Who sewed seeds of empathy,
    Whispered words of comfort
    For a daughter whose hearing faded away.
Mothers, family, friends helped
    Plant acceptance of my hearing loss,
    Weed out my self-pity,
    Nurture with understanding,
    Harvest hope where hopelessness dwelled.
I am strong enough now to plant, weed, nurture and harvest
    Creativity, laughter, hope
    In my inner gardens of silence.