The Orchard

by Anniel9/30/16

Daddy was – violent would be the word-
So full of hurt. None of us was certain
He cared at all. And Mom, well she was quiet
As she seemed to hide behind a curtain
Of self-insulating silence.

Wild asparagus grew along the banks
Of ditches across the road from our small
Shack. We children were often sent to pick
The precious green stalks. We’d find them and call
To the others to share the news.

An orchard grew on a private estate
Where the caretaker had threatened to shoot
If he caught us there – the precise spot where
Grew the best of the asparagus loot.
So we picked in more barren spots.

One lean day Mom demanded that I pick,
Alone, stalks from the forbidden orchard,
Causing lungs to contract my thumping chest
As fright destroyed my spirit’s hard-won guard.
Loud crying failed to move my mom.

Daddy came in, I knew, to stop the noise,
And I braced myself for an angry whack.
But this time something different happened.
Daddy reached out and took the picking sack,
As he also reached for my hand.

I’ll go and pick with you, he softly said,
And he did. I felt no fear of wounding
Or orchard. No fear of bullet or death –
Only the love that in me was sounding
As together he and I picked.

I think when my now trusting hand met his,
And look to a time when all hurts are healed,
When silence is gone and hope blooms anew.
When all our hearts’ hard-won pickings are sealed
By the bonds we have forged here.

October 2008


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9 Responses to The Orchard

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Very nice. Almost everyone is redeemable.

  2. Gibblet says:

    Oh, Anniel…. such beauty from so much pain. What a precious glimps to the true heart of the hurting soul of your Dad. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Anniel says:

    Oh, thank you. This is the last of the poems I wrote about my father so my children could understand me and their heritage. I have one long set of sonnets that are very different, but I’m still writing what goes with them. We’ll see.

    • Gibblet says:

      What a great idea. It took me 50 years to realize the affect my Grandfather’s heritage – he came from Holland when he was 12 – had on my Dad.

  4. Anniel says:

    Gibblet, it’s your turn again. No pressure or anything of course.

  5. Rosalys says:

    Beautiful.

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