The Gardener

The Gardener

A Poem by Linda Marie Van Tassell

He planted violets beneath her skin, adorned her lips with an ensanguined rose, folded her hands over what might have been, a half-bloomed blossom that no longer grows.


He planted violets beneath her skin,
adorned her lips with an ensanguined rose,
folded her hands over what might have been,
a half-bloomed blossom that no longer grows.

The green wood whispered with November’s chill.
He dug his heels into the weeping earth
and knuckled her name in syllabic shrill,
a woman unwanted, of little worth.

He would not settle for settling down
with the scarlet secret of tangled vines,
a harpy hid on the outskirts of town
where friends do not stay and truth never shines.

He never wanted more than a minute.
She wanted to hold him for all her life.
He was a knave whose heart wasn’t in it.
She never knew about his kids and wife.

Her smile beamed joy like the first breath of spring.
Her voice rippled like an oracle stream.
He was angry as a scorpion’s sting.
The pale death of hope relinquished her dream.

He wrapped his hands round her delicate neck,
and the wind shattered her future to end.
A moment in time, a fragment, a speck,
her sweet, young life will never reascend.

He firmly fixed his heaven to hell,
shoveled death into the grave of his heart,
tossed dirt upon her like coins in a well
and wished at once her memory depart.

Winter arrived like a dispossessed ghost.
A collarbone cleaved the glittering snow,
and in the moonlight stood a marker post
declaring a truth that we feared to know.

There’s a hum in the cradle of the earth,
undulating songs of beauty and death.
Heartbeats are hindered in anemic dearth,
and the wind is holding her totem breath.

Chrysanthemums are braided in her hair.
The fractured ribs are now skeletal bones.
Two flowers fair are planted in despair
beneath the granite of angel and stones.

© 2019 Linda Marie Van Tassell

Author's Note

Linda Marie Van Tassell

My Review

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Featured Review

Linda, this is a short story or novel masterfully crafted as a poem. You employ so many literary devices in this piece, and they all work (end rhyme and pattern, alliteration, consonance, simile, etc.).

As I read this poem, I thought about a 1990s murder in eastern Kentucky; an FBI agent murdered (straggled) his informant-girlfriend after she told him she was pregnant. Though he was convicted and sent to prison, he’s out now, reportedly working as an appliance repair man in Florida.

The wreckage this man left in his wake is horrific. Not only, like your victim here, did the woman die, but parts of her family, childhood innocence, trust in others, etc. In the case I mention above, the FBI agent’s wife became an alcoholic and eventually died. So much tragedy in one man’s evil act.

Metaphorically, more broadly, your poem could speak to the loss of goodness and innocence in society, and how one person’s self-serving thoughts and behavior, can have such tragic consequences.

Like your other works, the image and music give this poem depth and emotion. It’s an all-around exceptional creation.

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Linda Marie Van Tassell

3 Years Ago

Thank you, R.E. Crimes like these are so heinous, particularly when an innocent child is involved. .. read more


Wow, that was sad and a bit scary. In the name of love, what will some think, what will some do and will their actions release them or haunt them? Really well written.

Posted 7 Months Ago

What a tale you weave in your heartbreaking poetry, eloquently expressed and beautifully crafted. I truly enjoy reading your works. I'm currently reading the writing of a young Serbian-American novelist named Tea Obreht and she has such a wonderful expression of the English language. Her writing somewhat reminds me of Annie Proulx. I always enjoy reading fine expressive writing and yours is no exception. Kudos on this wonderful poem. F.

Posted 7 Months Ago

A crime of passion, poetically described. The inventive imagery of the first stanza grabs the reader, and from there the tale unfolds. A well-penned piece!

Posted 11 Months Ago

You don't need me to repeat what a well written, meaningful piece this is.
Among a zillion other foul deeds, it brings to mind the highway of tears in northern B.C. where young (native) women have been disappearing for years and what an easy target, women in general, continue to be.

Posted 2 Years Ago

Omgoodness, this is almost too hard to read!...the emotions are so strong and how you've expressed them is so real! I am simply in awe on how you have managed to put this togther...i'm reading for the third time and totally hooked.

Posted 2 Years Ago

I will never understand the motivation and selfishness that comes from these acts. I count myself and have been told by many that i am an empathic soul... but I could never crawl into the skins of those that could do this act, to fully understand the why of it! When confronted with this kind of wretchedness the hollow in my heart resonates with abandon... and in time I can feel the muscles contort and clinch upon my frame in anger and resentment for the allowance of this person to tread upon this earth and breath the despicable bile of disparity into the world! It is no secret I can kill this sort of person with a toothpick I say it plainly even regularly:( having once been touched by this sort of wretchedness my first reaction is always in rage I have to step back and meditate to calm myself to clarity. There are few writers I have known that can pen this sort of conveyance to make me diatribe and ramble like this after reading them and I'm not just speaking about this site I mean anywhere. this is a breathtaking painting sketch you have authored Linda

Posted 3 Years Ago

MMmmm-MM, Dearest Linda Marie 🌾

In the throes of exuberance-immersed enthrallment in your phenomenally incomparable poetic skill, I often wonder if you are able to believe the expressed praise and thorough enjoyment I derive from your brilliant efforts. And, I say this by virtue of your several humble responses; re: that you're not sure you deserve all the accolades bestowed.

I can assure you of my sincerity that this masterpiece of poetically sad poignance in perfect beat, pentameter, and rhythmic flow, magically creative metaphor, fresh syntactic breaths, and uncanny imagery, simply put, "Stole all senses, emotions, admiration, envy, and every other awestruck discernments contained in my simple bardic mind, heart, and soul."

This is as good as original storytelling poetry gets, with perfectly selected artwork, form, and music to harmonize this work into (I think) one of your most impressive pieces … but, I say that a lot about your writing, until your next, even more captivatingly excellent composition.

You know me (such as I am … sigh!), and after several increasingly mesmerizing readings -- in the all of this, there exists not one single aspect to make mention of needing an edit.

With this one, you've aroused every scintilla of my deepest respect, empathy, and compassion for this wondrously beautiful, youthful child … so many fall victim to such evil hap ⁓ yes, Linda Marie, the injustice broke into me, brimming real tears over into my core.

Somehow, it doesn't seem correct to say, but this is one of your most beautifully composed and powerful pieces.
Humbly and reverently … I bow to the depths of a being capable of not only writing such a soul-gripping work, but from your conscious mind and all-compassing heart.

Bless you and love You, Linda Marie … with most grateful thanks ⁓ Richard 🍃

Posted 3 Years Ago

This write is so awesome, I really love this part "Winter arrived like a dispossessed ghost.
A collarbone cleaved the glittering snow," So true. This is so very well written.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Linda, you are truly a poet. So many wonderful aspects to this poem. Simile, rhyming, alliteration, etc. in addition to a wonderful story packed with emotion. A loved one's brutal death robs us of not only the loved one, but of innocence. We are reminded too harshly of reality. A stunning piece of writing. Lydi**

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Linda Marie Van Tassell

3 Years Ago

Thank you so much, Lydia.
The last line of the first verse, as well as what follows, reminded me of walking through Glasgow's necropolis and seein pillars for headstones, cut at awkward angles. It wasnt until years later that i realised there are hidden codes in cemetries and the weirdly cut pillar denotes a life cut short. The picture you used is far more relateable though.
What a beautifully told tale of love unrequited, selfishness and brutality, where only kindness was sought.
After your words, thoughts linger on karma, but i believe in this less and less now, as hers wasnt forthcoming in this life... But hopefully his was.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

3 Years Ago

Thank you, Lorry. So often justice seems meted out unfairly - the guilty go unpunished, while the i.. read more

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17 Reviews
Added on November 9, 2019
Last Updated on November 9, 2019
Tags: The Gardener, Linda Marie Van Tassell, Adultery, Affair, Pregnancy, Murder


Linda Marie Van Tassell
Linda Marie Van Tassell


Poetry has been my passion since I was about fifteen years old, and I love the structure of rhyme and meter moreso than just randomly throwing words upon a page without any form whatsoever. Whi.. more..


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