The Secret Garden


Standing at the window, in the stillness
of the morning, his grief is overshadowed
for perhaps the first time in months.
Smiling, he remembers watching her

when she thought she was alone.
She rummaged through the shed,
flower pots clattered across the floor
while she searched for the right tool.

Her disease had filled her marrow
and tumors had become massive;
yet, determined to finish the task,
she set the bulbs before the first snow.

Now, hands on his hips, he sees
her last burst of energy peeking
through the remaining layer of snow:
crocuses of all colors, her final gift to him.

P. Wanken

Written for The Sunday Whirl prompt #57:  hips, marrow, crocuses, stillness, massive, secret, flower, grief, window, perhaps, hand, clatter, and colors.



  1. Clean and spare. No extra words. The structured form suits the, for the moment, structured thinking of the man. This is a lovely scene. The line that hits me: ‘she set the bulbs before the first snow’.

    You’re good, you know. I imagined analysing this poem with my students.


    1. Thank you, Mark. It seems that those who are dying end up with a last burst of energy — I tried to capture that…and use it as a gift from her. I appreciate your comment.


  2. Paula, I like how it’s his hands on his hips – a nice touch. It does seem we were on the same wavelength, like we were both writing about the same couple. I like how he smiles at the beginning, but we don’t know why until the end. It’s beautiful.



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