Hana no Niwa by Michael L. Utley

An abstract image of multicolored pastel flowers with a honeybee at the center of one of the flowers
Image Source: Canva Pro

In the restless nights

In the small flower garden

Spider lilies weep

Mournful beneath midnight moon

Dreaming higanbana dreams

They cry in silence

Do they know for whom they grieve

Do they remember

It was you who planted them

It was you who gave them life

They are not alone

In the soil of memories

In their moonlit tears

In my hana no niwa

In my place of remembrance

Magenta sweet peas

Bow their heads and bid farewell

To the one whose hands

Long-fingered and delicate

Caressed suitopi blooms

When the frost has come

Ivory chrysanthemums

Lay to rest your name

In autumnal kiku tombs

In dark chambers of my heart

In the pallid glow

Of tsuki and winter stars

Camellias die

Shed their crimson petals in

Snowy tsubaki lament

In the spring voices

Of sakura sing of you

Cherry blossoms mark

Your fleeting days in the sun

When skies were forever blue

In opposing climes

Doleful daffodils remain

Solemn sunflowers

Suisen, himawari

Pay respects with humble hearts

There’s a hidden place

In my hana no niwa

In my broken heart

Where my love for you still grows

Flowers bloom eternally

You are always there

Kneeling in the fertile loam

Under summer sun

Tending our flower garden

Where skies are forever blue

*hana no niwa – garden of flowers


Mike is a deaf writer/photographer who lives in rural southwest Colorado, USA.  His love of nature shines through his poetry and photography, both of which he uses to make sense of his world.

Please visit Silent Pariah to read and view more of his wonderful work.

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35 Comments Add yours

  1. kenhume31 says:

    This was beautiful Mike, so vivid and evocative! The reader is transported to the “garden of flowers” you write about! 👍😁😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thank you, Ken. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. Much appreciated, my friend. 🙂


    1. Mike U. says:

      Many thanks for your kind sentiments. I’m happy to know this one spoke to you. 🙂


      1. Cassa Bassa says:

        It absolutely did. Beauty buried in sadness.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Amazing, Mike. Love the imagery. Beautiful .💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, my friend. Your kind words truly mean a lot to me and I’m so glad to know you enjoyed this poem. I hope you’re doing well, Grace. Thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Truly my pleasure, Mike .💕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Mike, ya know… It’s not that I am encouraging you to take another two month hiatus, but this beautiful poem was worth the wait… ❤


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks, David. Yes, this hiatus–unwelcome and frustrating–will serve to reinvigorate the soil in my creative garden. The words will return soon enough and I can get back to the flow. Thanks as always for your ever-present support. I really appreciate you, good sir! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Terveen Gill says:

    Michael’s poetry is a beautiful tribute to love that once was and then was lost. The fragrant garden of flowers is a creative and lovely way to frame past memories that will remain in bloom forever. There are many ways to reminisce but words from the heart are forever blossoms of expression. We plant the seeds of love but what they give us is beyond our desires and control.
    Congratulations Michael!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Terveen. This flower garden is truly filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Remembering can be painful, but it can also be beautiful, and what better metaphor than a flower garden? Thanks a bunch for your encouragement and for believing in me. I’m so happy to be published here at MasticadoresIndia! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a stunning Gorgeous poem Mike.
    You fill our hearts in our gardens with love and beauty. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thank you, dear Cindy. I’m so glad to know you found this one to your liking. That flower garden exists in my heart, and those memories will last forever. Thank you for your kindness, as always. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re most welcome Mike. I love all of your writings and especially the garden in your heart.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Saima.SK says:

    Such a beautiful poem, dear Mike💕🙂 loved reading it too, as always.
    Congratulations!! 👍🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Saima. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, and it’s good to see you again! I hope you’ve been doing well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saima.SK says:

        It’s always a great pleasure to read your poetry/work.. dear Mike 🙂 Thanks, i’m doing well, and wish the same for you.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Dear Mike,

    Hello! You have been away for quite a while. I first read this poem at your blog, where only the first two stanzas are revealed. It is a pleasant surprise to find that the actual poem is five times longer totalling ten stanzas.

    I would like to suggest that the five lines within each stanza not be spaced so widely.

    As usual, I shall need to savour your poem multiple times to let it mature in my mind to appreciate its imports and significance.

    Meanwhile, considering the subject matter of your poem and that September has just passed, I would like to resonate with your poem as follows:

    The image is also my way of bidding farewell to a most special September, the reasons of which are detailed in one of my most recent posts.

    It seems that we both have had many floral-linked matters and bloom-inspired themes on our minds!

    Happy October to you and welcome back to the land of poetry!

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Many thanks, SoundEagle! Your kind words mean a lot to me. As for the formatting, the lines are spaced in groups of five for a reason–each stanza follows a tanka format. Whenever I write poetry, I like to have a structure in mind before beginning (unless it’s completely free-verse). It creates a foundation upon which I can build the poem and gives it a flow. For this one, I wanted a series of tanka-format stanzas, with each stanza representing a different flower and its symbolism in Japanese culture, with the end result being a sort of memory garden where the recollections of a past love still flourish. On this site, I have no control over how the poem is formatted. On my own blog, the individual line spacing within each stanza is less pronounced, but still airy enough to allow the lines to “breathe,” if that makes sense. 🙂

      The image you’ve included here is gorgeous and so colorful (yay, orange!). 😀 Soon, the colors in my area will be changing from green to some of the most vivid yellows imaginable as aspens succumb to the season. There’ll also be the glorious oranges of cottonwoods. There aren’t many hardwoods here so we don’t see the same conflagration of reds that are present in other locales. Your graphic art is always stunning. 🙂

      Thanks again for the wonderful support, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Mike,

        HaHa! I have had a lot of orange colours (being your favourites) lately in my latest posts that you have yet to savour. The previous image is featured in my post entitled “🌤️🌾 A September to Remember: Greeting Post-Pandemic and Post-Elizabethan Age 👑🏰 with Sapphires, Asters, Poems and Songs 💎🌼📜🎶“, where you will find one of my rhyming poems, plus two other rhyming poems (not mine).

        Here is another image full of orange tones:

        This image is featured in my post entitled “🔄📈📉 Change Rules and Moment Matters: How to Stay in the Moment 🔖🕰️🔂“, which may be a perfect remedy or antidote to some of the issues that you have been facing in life, whether lately or on an ongoing basis. I hope that you will find this post particularly helpful.

        All in all, I have published four new posts during your absence, and I intend to publish two more this week, if nothing intervenes.

        And should any of these newer posts inspire you to write one or more poems for us to collaborate as I have suggested to you, then so much the better.

        Yours sincerely,

        Liked by 1 person

  8. jonicaggiano says:

    Your poem is such a touching and loving tribute to those that have left us. There were so many lines that touched my heart I honestly can not give you a favorite. The entire poem was just so truly touching and I enjoyed it so much. Congratulations, big hugs, Joni

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thank you, Joni, for such a kind and thoughtful comment. To be honest, this poem sometimes chokes me up when I read it, particularly the last two stanzas. There’s a lot of emotion and memories that went into writing this one. It’s sorrowful, but also beautiful in its own way, as dear memories sometimes can be. I’m so glad you liked it, and big hugs right back to you! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Your poetry is so beautiful, Mike, and this one comes across with such tender grief. What is sadder than crushed petals? Just touched to read you again. Congrats on the publication. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Diana. You always bring a smile to my face with your kindness. I truly appreciate your thoughts on this poem. I wanted to express the significance of various flowers in Japanese culture, and their meanings fit so nicely with the concept of grief, the loss of love, the loss of a loved one… The memories can be painful yet, once planted, those memories live on forever as reminders of the beauty we once knew. Thanks for the nice comment, my friend. I hope you’re doing well. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love the symbolism in Japanese culture. It’s one of the places in the world that intrigues me. And planting flowers is a lovely way to honor the memories of someone loved and lost. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Jeff Flesch says:

    A beautiful write, Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Many thanks, Jeff. I’m grateful for your constant support, good sir! So happy to know you found this one to your liking. And congrats on the success of your book! I’m so stoked for you! 🙂


  11. A gorgeous poem, Mike. So poignant and touches the heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thanks so much, Shobana, and my apologies for the delayed response–I just now saw this comment. I truly appreciate your kind words and support. Many thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, Mike. I just saw this too. I always seem to miss some of comments. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, a very beautiful poem with such strong images.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike U. says:

      Thank you kindly, and please forgive my late response–I just now discovered your comment here. I’m glad to know this piece resonated with you. I appreciate your support so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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