There is a place,

a breathing space between where the neat hedge stops
and the garden next door splays,
where the moss spreads cool and green,
where the stars wink with aged beams,
where the spruce hare relaxes and dreams,
warming her fur in the yellowberry rays.

Let us go from this place where the shrill wind screams
down blackened roads and acrid dead ends,
clear of the coal mines and gravestone heads,
walk steadily forward, ignoring the dread,
and the clothes that are sullied and shred,
in search of that space between garden and hedge.

But the way is blurred and the path overgrown
and the memory of clear weather has strayed,
with time the burnished metal has dulled,
with time the mind needs to be oiled,
with time all the sparks have been culled,
so let’s search for the children to show us the way.


Note: inspired by Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends; and discussions about the wonders of childhood over at Martin Hodges’s blog Square Sunshine (thoughts and observations of a grandfather).

19 thoughts on “There is a place,

  1. What an impressive verse…there is an undertone of Silverstein in this poem…and what a fascinating photo…not sure what I’m looking at tho…don’t think we have those in SoCal.

    1. Thanks slpmartin 🙂 The photo is of some sort of fungi which I have found only once around here – lovely colours – wouldn’t have a clue what it’s name is (I should do what Thomma Lyn does – she photographs and gives her fungi names on her hikes though the mountains)

  2. I agree with slpmartin – you have captured an essence of Shel Silverstein with this one. There is a sense of enchantment and sophisticated wordplay evident that I have always found with Silverstein. Very well done, Gabe. Quite a beautiful piece of poetry!

    1. Thanks Selma – it started as a writing exercise where words are substituted (so I retained the rhyming format and stuff) but changed the format of the stanzas (deleting the repetition he uses) and then changing the way it ends to suit me. I should also thank you for this poem as I was also thinking of some of your stories where you see the magic in the everyday – the garden, the wall etc., – and the theme of hope and wonderment 🙂

  3. your poems have been growing deeper — this one has so much — don’t know where to begin — the imagery, the sounds, the calendar in years measured — very special

  4. Love the feeling of mystery in this beautiful poem, Gabrielle, of something wonderful waiting to be discovered (and the image conjured up by “where the spruce hare relaxes and dreams” is just delightful 🙂 ),

  5. I read this four times, then went back for five and six. I bet you don’t know how perfect this poem is do you Gabe? Think Millay and know that you have touched that level of art. Wow!

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