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Michael Walsh’s poem, The Garden Bower, evoked a story from a North American reader who writes: I have had these conversations since the last ten years with my husband Bert, who died so tragically. His soul left his body in 2009 when he signalled me by illuminating my office with the most radiant warm glow. When I looked outside there was a beautiful red cardinal bird sitting on the giant spruce tree in my back garden.
At that time, I thought it was a turning point in his condition and I rushed to his bedside in the hospital. Sadly, when I got there his condition had deteriorated. After his death strange things were happening in the house, lights would turn on in various places of the house that I had not turned on. During the night I would awake and would see a red glow, I always felt his presence.
Our back garden with the giant white and pink magnolia tree, the almond tree, lilacs, birch and Japanese lilac was always a small oasis away from the mad city. Bert would sit quietly on a bench in the far corner and smile and would say, “What have we done to deserve this beauty.”
From January of this year until June, there would be almost every night three or four knocks that would happen in my bedroom just before I drifted off to sleep. It sounded like someone knocking at a door. It was strange because the house is of brick and stone.
Karl and my daughter, who slept with me one night in my bed, were also hearing those knocks; I was not sure what signal they were giving me.
I tried to find out if someone was warning me about my brother’s declining health and his impending death, or giving reassurance that all will be okay. I did not know if it was my mother, father or Bert. So, one day I looked up the Morse code and the knocks were as follows: 1 loud knock followed by 3 softer ones, in Morse code, it is the letter B. (Bert).
Earlier this year I was thinking of having a Gazebo built in one corner of the backyard under the Magnolia tree, but then I felt guilty for being so frivolous and spending money. My children and grandchildren encouraged me and said “Mom follow your dream”.
In May my son and grandsons, son-in-law with assistance, built the foundation. I then went on a search and found a place near the Mennonite Countryside that brings in Gazebos from Pennsylvania built by the Amish. They are basically prefab and on June 5 it was assembled. I almost think that a higher force was telling me to do it. On that day the knocks stopped.
It has become my sanctuary, my bower, where I can sit and reflect with my little dog and just listen to the birds and think of Bert, on what he would say if he could join me.
THE GARDEN BOWER
You haven’t changed, she whispered,
You’re as you were before;
You mean the day I passed away,
You’re in the clothes you wore,
Yes, she pensive smiled until,
A tear welled in her eye;
Hush my dear, I am quite well,
It’s better you don’t cry.
It’s good to see you one more time,
And in our favourite bower,
She handed him a posy;
It was your favourite flower;
There are flowers in the meadows, dear,
You’ll find me there one day,
I’ll wait until you to come to me,
We’ll watch the birds at play.
I’m lost but you will leave me,
I wish you’d stay awhile,
We thought there would be time to spend,
Before our final mile;
Don’t weep for me, my true beloved,
One day will come the hour,
The tears will dry; you’ll take my hand,
And share again our bower.
Mícheál Walsh Poetry
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That was a lovely poem. And a beautiful story.
Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you, Dennis