The Garden

By Mark Strand 1934–2014 Mark Strand

for Robert Penn Warren

It shines in the garden,
in the white foliage of the chestnut tree,   
in the brim of my father’s hat
as he walks on the gravel.

In the garden suspended in time   
my mother sits in a redwood chair:   
light fills the sky,
the folds of her dress,
the roses tangled beside her.

And when my father bends
to whisper in her ear,
when they rise to leave
and the swallows dart
and the moon and stars
have drifted off together, it shines.

Even as you lean over this page,   
late and alone, it shines: even now   
in the moment before it disappears.

Mark Strand, “The Garden” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Mark Strand 1934–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Gardening, Activities

 Mark  Strand

Biography

Mark Strand was recognized as one of the premier American poets of his generation as well as an accomplished editor, translator, and prose writer. The hallmarks of his style are precise language, surreal imagery, and the recurring theme of absence and negation; later collections investigate ideas of the self with pointed, often urbane wit. Named the U.S. Poet Laureate in 1990, Strand’s career spanned five decades, and he won . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Gardening, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.