The lines "In the night garden, light is a swallowed cry" are from the poem "Night Garden" in the collection Skin Divers, © Anne Michaels, 1999, which I had been reading the week that I went to a Canadian Forces workshop on the experiences of a  wounded sniper..

BAND OF BROTHERS

 

Beside his band of brothers,

who could penetrate his solitary shroud of sadness?

It breathes with him,

like a palpable, living thing,

with each inhale and exhale of his breath.

Who will sit with him

as he struggles to be,

present,

in this moment?

In this place?

His father's shoulders shudder -

generations of unspoken grief.

A friend's hand reaches out, 

a fleeting moment, grounding, private.

I am here.

I am with you.

I will not be left behind.

 

But still the shroud thickens and fills the room

a welling grief, thick like August air.

 

We breathe him in.

And, as David stands, 

carrying the weight of wounds I cannot see,

I am reminded of the poet who said:

"In the night garden light is a swallowed cry."

Fiona Mackintosh (© May 19, 2012)

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