Garden of White Flowers

The Notes:  A triple Cherita. A cherita tells a story and is written thusly: one line, then two lines, then three lines for a total of six lines. There is no line length, no rhyme, no syllable requirement. This first Cherita is the beginning of a series of poems in my Garden of White Flower Series.  This first section is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Jeff, a sweet and gentle soul. He committed suicide this past June 18, 2018.  I miss him dreadfully.  I seem to be on a roll here with poems about suicide. I am working on clearing my system of three deaths this past June: my mother and two friends by suicide, all within two weeks of each other.

Garden of White Flowers
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you, all of my life.” Oscar Wilde

I. Jeff
He loved white flowers in his garden especially bathed in moonlight.

He began his white garden when he interred the ashes of the love of his life,
His lover who died from AIDS thirty five years ago and cremated.

He dug the corner of his yard by hand putting in much sweat equity.
He planted a scented white rose that climbed and then iris bulbs,
Paperwhite narcissus, and wisteria, in the corner with the magnolia tree.

He watered the flowers with his tears and sweat.

Next into the garden he buried his precious Cocker, Duncan –
Rescued from a dog hoarder, abused and starved.

He sat out here often talking to Gabe and Duncan.
He planted more white flowers to breathe their life into him,
He whose loves had all died leaving him alone.

He was sitting in his white garden in the moonlight

When he decided there were enough white lowers, enough memories.
He stroked the petals of the white iris and the white rose

Then went into the house on that beautiful June night.
The next morning he took his cat to the vet to board her for a few days.
He returned home and hung himself, the scents of his garden wafting through the windows.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sarahsouthwest
    Nov 09, 2018 @ 16:31:42

    What a sad story.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 09, 2018 @ 16:40:38

      Yes it was and still is.

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      • sarahsouthwest
        Nov 09, 2018 @ 18:27:29

        There are some wounds that we will always carry. We might forget them for a while, but they are always there, and we are never quite the same again.


        • kanzensakura
          Nov 09, 2018 @ 18:32:46

          No we are not. I saw Jeff on several occasions sitting in his garden with Gabe’s urn beside him on the bench. A month before he suicided, his mother died suddenly. Jeff was 60 at the time. Too young.

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  2. annell4
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 09:55:13

    On my goodness, such a sad story, I regret he left before I even got to know him. Something sad about a garden of white flowers, though beautiful. I honor a person’s right to the decision of their coming and their going. Even though it leaves me lonely.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 10, 2018 @ 10:20:05

      He certainly left me lonely. His garden was a peaceful and fragrant place full of birds, butterflies, and impudent squirrels. It was a wonderful place to sit and let the world go by.

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  3. coalblack
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 13:07:57

    “See what you lost when you left this world/ this sweet old world/ didn’t you think anyone loved you?” –“Sweet Old World” by Patty Griffin


  4. Kerry
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 14:36:35

    This worked beautifully as an extended version of the form.


  5. kim881
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 14:45:14

    How brave to write such a sad personal story in a new form, Toni, and triple the structure, too. Such a beautiful garden Jeff had. I look forward to reading other poems in the Garden of White Flower Series. .


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 15:48:26

    What a sorrowful tale… too many white flowers in the end i think… sometimes I think you feel that there is only one way to end it… I wish it could be different.


  7. Vicki
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 16:36:07

    I lost a loved one to AIDS, this made me think of him today. Thank you, this is beautifully done.


  8. Helen
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 17:01:30

    I could not read through to the end without a flood of tears. This hit very close to home, to my heart.


  9. Pat: willow88switches
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 17:27:56

    a fine way to remember and share the stories, not only for the tragedy of the death, but also, as a testament to the will to have survived, continued, with such impacting losses, for so long – and to take these feelings and transform them into something beautiful – a garden, for memorials, but also as a way to offer one, one’s own solace and comfort –

    you’ve done a wonderful job using this form – actually making it speak beyond its scope …


  10. Marie Elena
    Nov 10, 2018 @ 19:46:10

    I actually gasped. I believe your writing has had that effect on me before, and said so at the time. Wow …


  11. Marian
    Nov 11, 2018 @ 10:03:27

    So sorry for your loss, Toni. That garden is magnificent, too.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 11, 2018 @ 10:38:15

      The new owners of his home loves the garden as it is laid out and will continue to maintain it. It was one if the selling features.

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  12. anmol(alias HA)
    Nov 11, 2018 @ 10:55:21

    Oh, this is heartbreaking — you are doing such a beautiful job capturing his life and his loss in your words; it’s a reminiscence and a dirge too. The white garden as both a visual metaphor and a motif of life and its eventual end gives us all an opportunity to think and to remember him with you.


  13. Vivian Zems
    Nov 11, 2018 @ 18:53:35

    This is poignant. It never ceases to strike how that final decision is made in such quiet..when enough is enough.


  14. Margaret Schaff Bednar
    Nov 11, 2018 @ 21:43:21

    All that beauty and sadness. It is so hard to deal with this… what can we say but to hold on to the love and beauty and know (at least I believe) they had no idea the hurt they would leave behind. Hugs. Beautiful poetic remembrance.


  15. Ali Grimshaw
    Nov 12, 2018 @ 20:01:50

    This is so very sad. We will never know what he felt at the moment he chose to not greet another day but I can tell you loved him. Thank you for sharing.


  16. purplepeninportland
    Nov 13, 2018 @ 16:37:40

    I love that the garden was white. I can see him there. So sad to lose a friend.


  17. Kira
    Nov 13, 2018 @ 22:36:56

    What a poignantly sad story. It is heartbreaking when we lose a loved one. You did a wonderful job using the poetry form to tell a longer story. Thank you for sharing this.


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