National Poetry Month: Day 3, Poem # 3 (and a little flash)

To the Artist

While he struggled
with saw, hammer, nails and plane
building a garden door for magic to enter,
you simply
painted one in.

An artist asked her husband to build a door to the garden, which she could leave open to allow an unrestricted view of the burgeoning growth while she painted. “To let the magic of the garden fill my eyes,” she said. Her husband had never done anything like this before, and while he fought his measuring tape, and wielded his carpenter’s square, she became impatient. She painted a whimsical door that stood open to a lush garden, framed in a filigree of ivy. Eventually, they built the real door next to it, and her filigree extended around the new construction. She painted the flowers in her trompe-l’oeil to match the view of the garden.

However, seasons change, and she sometimes muses that she should alter her painting as often as the garden changes; snowdrops and scilla in spring-time; poppy fire and royal purple irises as summer approaches; then red velvet bee balm followed by dazzling white phlox and the lavender echinacea with their spiky centers; the deep reddish-purple of the smoke bush in autumn and brilliant scarlet, bead-like berries of the Pyracantha, vibrant against snow in winter. I wonder how thick the paint would become over the years.

photo copyright Chris Galvin


A poem for dVerse Open Link Night


About Chris Galvin

Chris Galvin is a Canadian writer, editor and photographer dividing her time between Canada and Viet Nam. Her essay Flood Season was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net prize, and Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam won third place (shared) and a Readers’ Choice Award in the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals, including Descant, Asian Cha, PRISM International, Room, and others. She has written in Vietnamese and English for Vietnam Tourism Review/Kham Pha Du Lich Vietnam Magazine, Travellive, and Du Lich Giai Tri. Chris is currently looking for a home for her recently completed manuscript, Breakfast Under the Bodhi Tree, a book about living, eating, and tour-guiding in Viet Nam.
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15 Responses to National Poetry Month: Day 3, Poem # 3 (and a little flash)

  1. Doug says:

    Nice poem and really good post. I’m curious how thick that paint became too.


  2. brian miller says:

    smiles….lovely…i would love to see the painting…and then the progression of it…and you know…i would not mind how thick…smiles…

  3. claudia says:

    oh nice…this is magical…think i should paint such a door as well…just allowing the magic to enter…nice…and then of course change it as often as it needs to be changed..that’s part of the magic isn’t it…? smiles

    • chris says:

      I’ve been thinking; it would be even more magical if the painting would morph of its own accord, as and when needed. I need a door like that!

  4. A wonderful poem, and an excellent post.

    Wonder how many flowers were real, and how many were conjured from depths of imagination. If paint was the only limit…

  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    So lovely, and timely! 🙂 We all need that doorway to the magic of spring, I think.

  6. ayala says:

    A great post, beautiful!

  7. zongrik says:

    the magic of the garden, but was it a magic garden?

    opportunity on mars

  8. InJensMind says:

    If you can’t build it, paint it. If you can’t paint it, write about it. If the paint becomes to thick perhaps it will be time for a window? Beautiful poem and story.

  9. I love the poem and the flash fic together. They meld beautifully.

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