“Hana no Niwa (Garden of Flowers)”

“Hana no Niwa (Garden of Flowers)”
(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley

In the restless nights
In the small flower garden
Spider lilies weep
Mournful beneath midnight moon
Dreaming higanbana dreams

They cry in silence
Do they know for whom they grieve
Do they remember
It was you who planted them
It was you who gave them life

They are not alone
In the soil of memories
In their moonlit tears
In my hana no niwa
In my place of remembrance

Magenta sweet peas
Bow their heads and bid farewell
To the one whose hands
Long-fingered and delicate
Caressed suitopi blooms

When the frost has come
Ivory chrysanthemums
Lay to rest your name
In autumnal kiku tombs
In dark chambers of my heart

In the pallid glow
Of tsuki and winter stars
Camellias die
Shed their crimson petals in
Snowy tsubaki lament

In the spring voices
Of sakura sing of you
Cherry blossoms mark
Your fleeting days in the sun
When skies were forever blue

In opposing climes
Doleful daffodils remain
Solemn sunflowers
Suisen, himawari
Pay respects with humble hearts

There’s a hidden place
In my hana no niwa
In my broken heart
Where my love for you still grows
Flowers bloom eternally

You are always there
Kneeling in the fertile loam
Under summer sun
Tending our flower garden
Where skies are forever blue

10 thoughts on ““Hana no Niwa (Garden of Flowers)”

    1. You’re too kind, Reena. Thanks so much for the nice comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. A lot of sad memories went into this piece but I had fun writing it. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, David. No, I don’t know Japanese, although I’m learning a few phrases as I explore Japanese short-form poetry more. I have a deep love and appreciation for Asian culture (especially Japanese culture) and I suppose it’s sort of my way of paying respect and tribute to it when I write haiku and tanka. Honestly, my dream is to go to Japan for about a year or three and just explore and learn. But for these haiku and tanka, I reference online sources to find the names of plants and animals and locations to set the mood for my attempts at paying tribute to Japanese culture with my poetry. It’s a difficult language and its syntax is completely unlike that of English. Heck, I have enough difficulty understanding English with my deaf ears! 😀 I know I’ll never be able to fulfill my dreams of visiting Japan, but it’s a special dream for me nonetheless. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Oh, it would be wild! I can’t even imagine! The furthest I’ve ever been outside the States is about ten miles into Alberta, Canada back in 1996. Never been overseas. Thanks for the encouragement, David. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re spoiling me with your kindness, Grace! I really appreciate your comment. I enjoyed writing this poem. I love the symbolism of flowers, especially what they mean in different cultures, so I tried to implement that thought into each stanza. For this particular stanza, white chrysanthemum in Japanese culture can represent grief, purity and truth, and are sometimes used in funerals. It sort of made sense when writing about the death of a relationship. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your explanation actually made the piece even more profound for me, Mike. Thank you for that, I didn’t realize the symbolism behind the white chrysanthemum. Amazing. Reading your work is a real treat for me, I love your talent.💕❤️💕

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You’ve officially made my day! Thanks, Grace. This means a lot, coming from someone whose writing I admire so much. I’m so grateful for this WordPress community. There are so many good folks here. *feeling humbled* 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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