The Garden of Your Face

I saw death in a mans face. But maybe I was only recognising my own death. If there had been more life in me, would I not have seen life in the same face?

Or are growth and decay but two parts of some other thing that is neither living nor rotting, but both? Are they the bits that show of something I have not glimpsed? Or maybe a thought is a glimpse, a preparatory type of knowing. A thought might be the first grasping of an outline too subtle for us yet to see in its complexity and wholeness.

And yet, a few uncertainties – the tentative emotions felt in sensing what is not yet seen of the mystery I am – leave something with me. For I have wondered at your face, pondered on the common lines. I have looked at your fingers and all the parts of you I have seen and felt.

But more than these, it is your features that concern me. For I have seen the ill line of your nose when you were sleeping – or the sweet eagerness of the mouth when you walked to me. Also I have seen the lines of bitterness and uncertainty, as clear as cunning or laughter in other faces.

Yet none of your faces, or the faces of others are what I thought they were. For I can only ever see in them what I have seen in myself. A child cannot know despair upon the parent face until it has felt despair upon its own.

So if I have not seen flowers, have not seen buses, or high trees, or known something of myself, these I will not see in you. My foot may crush the flower’s unknown perfume. Buses can roll upon me to hurt. The leafy trees can fall, or myself go by unseen.

But even though I have only glimpsed flowers, felt the rough barked trees in darkness, ridden on buses as a child, seen myself veiled in dreams, yet do I know that inasmuch as I can glimpse flowers, in as much do I see them in the secret garden of a common face.

Copyright ©2005 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved