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,
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)