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Her Heart Was In The Garden


S. L. Newman's wit and ear for language gives us beautiful and profound poetry endowed with meaning.

It is mid-day
But all is silent
One tree rustles above me
The lofty palm
Forgotten in the breeze

Unsuspecting, the sweetness of his words
Rushes on my mind

Scenes of men and gods
Sounds of flutes and beating drums
Cymbals clash

Devine King of the Rainforest
With furs and feathers
You rest alone
In a timeless sweet land
Only to sleep
Only to dream
You are a sacred bird
Against the mountainside

It was on this day
That the sun's rays
Cleared his eyes

And my thoughts are only of him

These lines are from "Along the Banks of the Passion River" written by S. L. Newman.

The poem is a meditation on the Mayan culture and her love for her gardener. From pageantry to ceremonies and warfare, Kings often wore the images of important deities such as a bird deity's headdress.

Another defining cultural practice of the Maya was the caste system. Their society was separated into a ruling class and a laboring class. Her poem speaks to the supposed contradiction of these two classes, as she believes her 'jardinero' to be a Divine King. There is both a transparency and a straightforward elegance anchored in every line.

"I realize, without exception, how extremely fortunate I've been as a writer to live where my imagination can flourish," she says. In her poetry, she's often the high-minded dreamer speculating a better day, like the bird floating in the midst of its struggle.

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