Ruined Garden: A Poem by Mike Cole

He Walked through a garden he used to know

Whose beds took many months to sow.

The garden had been overgrown by weeds

Left untended and unwanted.

And so he walked those haunted grounds,

Not a crop left to be found.

He walked among the trellises,

Whose vines had long not bore a seed.

Crooked and bent they stood,

With splintered and hollowed wood.

So he sat in the garden a while,

waiting in the cold.


It’s National Poetry Month! This will be the second annual National Poetry Month series! For this month I am breaking down my poems and discussing the meaning behind each. To kick things off, we have ‘Ruined Garden’. The idea came about when I visited my old High School. Years ago I had planted a garden with other students as part of a club. Every so often we would harvest the vegetables, some we ate, the rest we’d donate to the local food bank. To my surprise, when I visited this year, the garden was decrepit. An overgrown relic of a bygone era. As with most of my poetry I like to make it a blend of experiences, a reflection of both reality while also keeping a certain magic to the poem itself. This poem I tried to reflect the magic of what the garden once was while also emphasizing what it had become. This poem leans on the more literal and I thought it’d be a good way to start off the month. It is Free Verse, as has become common with most of my poetry. I am a fan of couplets and having the poem continually rhyme throughout. Over the years, I have experimented more with adding imperfection to my poems and typically use it to emphasis poems that should be broken. When you have a rhyme, everything is neat and clean. People love it, I love it. When you add a sentence structure that does not have that perfect rhyme, you notice it, such as in line four. There are many words that rhyme with weeds, but by choosing not to, it simply stops and you have to jump to the next rhyme. This was repeated in the end of the poem to add a sense of finality and to reiterate that all is not well in the garden. There is a lingering sense of open-endedness as you do not know what happens to the man in the garden.


Hope you enjoyed! There’ll be two more poems this month, so stay tuned and as always, thanks for reading!

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