That Poisoned Valley

I was walking with my daughters along the paths of the institute,
Its decaying shells scaffolded and maintained by the construction work which surrounded us.

Along the way we met a priest, who carried an edition of my book,
Who wore an identical suit to mine, and had my haircut, my spectacles duplicated upon his face.
But his face revealed his nature, which was not my nature,
For he had the face of a thief: though he wore my pinstripe, he did not wear my face.

We spoke about reality for a while: his laugh was loud, but dry and hollow
And when I questioned him on his successes, his face turned dark.

And we walked past him, into a valley, within which flowered a fluorescent field of violets, the lawn of Government House stretching out beyond its hills.
We regarded those violets: such strange rich dye, an intensity that seeped outward, to dissipate only at the blank edges of petal, then kiss-crossed four times by delicate crucifixion of yellow.
But I became distressed when I saw the danger to my daughters: that these flowers had been poisoned, so that anyone who touched them would become poisoned too.
The gardener must know that it is in a child’s nature to reach out and touch beauty!
What manner of gardener would poison this beauty with the knowledge that families walk here?

And so I took my daughters away from that poisoned valley.


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