There was a place, and is there still;
Overgrown with tangled webs, wildflowers amid spiraling vines.
Ancient mythic images stand in solitary shadows,
Crumbling and cooling in the deepest shades cast by the sun.
The path runs through caverns and ruins
Travelled by foolish children,
For the garden invites them into a magic game.
An invitation few adults would venture to accept
Into this abandoned and dangerous solitude.
I followed this strange path,
As a child I followed the path.
Skipping into sanctuary
Lured by the magnet of abandoned trees with green apples
Left to rot under unpruned trees.
And the scent of honeysuckle.
Moss grew on staid, standing water of reflecting pools
Dimly redirecting the obstructed sky.
Hardly mirroring my face as I searched for little fish, tadpoles and lilies.
Perseus stood for eternity holding the head of Medusa endlessly squirming stone snakes,
I was awed and avoided him gingerly.
Athena minus a limb or two presided with authority.
Pan guarded the entrance of a tiny tunnel,
That one small child could enter fearfully.
Yet, spirits seemed to hover indulgently,
Keeping safe the wandering children attracted into the sweet solitude.
My favorite entrance was to sneak around the big stone gatehouses;
To dance by the bluebells
Into a cavern, dark and scary;
Once brick oven set with steps that led up into
Arches flanked by benches
Surrounded by the stories of ancient statuary.
I always went that way.
A small white temple by the Brandywine
Was perched on the river’s edge;
On the falls that connected to the millrun.
For there was an island on our side of the river
That had its own path to that point.
I would dangle my toes into the water on either side
Watching the patterns form from
My slightest movement;
Rippling, swirling endlessly around the rocks molded by the waters.
I would play for solitary hours,
Singing to myself
Perhaps those ghosts of those that died before
Heard my childish voice.
I wondered as a girl
If the river would know me later.
So intimate were we.
For time was insignificant here.
So, when I dreamed of the iron bridge many times;
I had to cross back, as a woman
And return to the garden of secrets.
I stole into it again and again
To find the same path as my girl child;
To put again my feet on familiar trails,
That years made more tangled than before.
Travelling the road backwards,
I reclaimed the child;
So pure in spirit,
Yet aware with all senses
Of what was before;
In this special timeless space;
This secret place
Now wandering paths inside.