i wanna turn back time to where trust got lost//back in the garden

“you know what this is–?”
a hint of french in his flawless german,
“yes”, i say, flipping open the guide book
“should be the opera”

“no, i mean the pipes” he smiles,
i look at where he points,
they weave pink and blue in loops
along the roadside,
“looks like artwork, but, no, no idea”

“berlin’s built on sand & water”, he says,
they extract it from the ground, use the
pipes to pump it to building sites”
“wow, how do you know?”
“living here for 22 years”

we sit on a bench– half-shade,
& i’m not prepared to talk to someone,
so i fall silent, sun paints
flickering shadows on the boardwalk,

two japanese girls walk toward us,
ask him for directions, he explains
in perfect english, they smile happy
& exhausted “ah, the walking–”

he turns to me again,

“i’m from Lyon originally”
“so what brought you here?”
“a friend”

& he tells his story, funny how
life develops sometimes, takes
us along roads we never thought
would be an option
“while you’re here, apart from the
main sights, you should–”

i take notes, tube stops, little drawings,
he’s funny and we laugh a lot
“don’t waste your time with me”, he smiles,
“go, explore her, it’s a fascinating city”
“thank you”, i get up
he clears his throat
“if you like, i could show you around a bit

“hmm” i say
& hate the film that starts now, me,
tied to a pole in some forgotten cellar,
raped & murdered on the bottom
of the Spree–
“that would be nice, but, no, i can’t,
i’m sorry–”

in his eyes, a ping of pain, (read
my thoughts– ? probably), this world
fell deep, shaTTerEd, loST trUST// brO
kEN innocence, & we all suffer, suffocating,
poisoned, from its tainted fruits


it’s this time of the week…OpenLinkNight again at dVerse… smiles..write a poem & join us at 3pm EST..


83 responses to “i wanna turn back time to where trust got lost//back in the garden

  1. Sadly this is all too true…our trust is being held hostage by fear…sadly what has happen in recent months does not help trust to grow.

  2. “a hint of french in his flawless german” … Wow, that sounds so sexy.

    “i’m not prepared to talk to someone,
    so i fall silent, sun paints” … I love this, even without the completion — as if falling silent turns you into paint made out of the sun.

    Mmm. More loveliness:

    “ah, the walking” … I like this metaphor, about life.

    ““don’t waste your time with me”, he smiles,
    “go, explore her”

    “hate the film that starts now, me,
    tied to a pole in some forgotten cellar”

    “in his eyes, a ping of pain”

    I love the way you tied the final stanza in with the title. So good, Claudia. This is another wonderful poem.

  3. I’m moved to tears, C … love those “conversations in the park” …. with some stranger … in the summer …. maybe, some day, we can meet at the inner harbour of Victoria, BC and talk … I’d so love that … soul sister … Love, cat.

  4. Ooh, brilliant….I love ‘don’t waste your time with me’ and where that takes us. Well crafted, as always! Due to life events, my poetry muse has deserted me at present, but hope to be back atd’Verse one day.

  5. Yeah, I am a stranger magnet too. Its easier for me being a man to converse with people. I often used to share a beer or a coffee with someone I just met. It’s so interesting meeting people from different cultures and towns. But yes, sadly these days, we all have to be very aware about who we trust and allow into our lives.

    Another fine account of happenings on your trip, you certainly seem to get about.

  6. nice…i would love that we could trust, that we did not have to worry…i remember as a child being able to roam for miles without fear…that would never happen in this age…i wonder what caused that shift you know…how the world became a scarier place…it makes me mourn a bit at the thought…of what we might miss out on….

  7. This, unfortunately, is a poem of today. We miss some opportunities because of fears for our own safety, but we just never know. You set the scene well, Claudia, relayed the conversation movingly, and left the reader thinking and mourning, a bit, what good COULD have been. (But we never know…)

  8. It’s always a pleasure to read about your chance meetings with people. Me – I’m usually too shy to engage in conversation. It is a real shame that trust is such a rare and dangerous commodity in our world.

  9. I love how you tell this story from the pipes to the sit down to the departure. Romance still happens despite the loss of trust, but so does evil despite the gifts people give each other in passing. I love the moments containing the gifts. You give us one here.

  10. ….I think about Katherine Hepburn and Rosanno Brazzi and their first meeting in the Piazza in Rome in the 1955 movie “Summertime”….cautious she was,
    but today, it is totally out of hand..I’m glad you laughed a lot ..

  11. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
    William Shakespeare

    I love your plays.

  12. oh, so poignant and sorrowful, so sad that we have to protect ourselves, think this way, even though we do. you made something come alive in this one, his loneliness, your trepidation, the tension was just perfect. “not prepared to talk to someone” … loved that line

  13. Yes, Claudia, we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden… Just fell into your world and was chained there until you released me. 😉 Great writing! If you believe you’re not trusting, think what it’s like for an old retired cop… 😀

  14. This one is one of my favorites of yours, and love how your poetic personality just puts yourself out there, but your feminine alacrity keeps you safe. It is a sad world for sure, and every panhandler, con man, rapist, sadist, and killer has their charming side. Your right brain prompt was righteous, but then again, perhaps the man would have turned out to be another fascinating acquaintance

  15. It is sad we have to think that way, but you did the right thing. At least you got to have a great conversation with someone who is probably genuinely nice… but you never know and that’s haunting to me.

  16. This started out much like most of my chance encounters with strangers. I often initiate the conversation. But yes, there is that element of trust, especially a woman alone with a man. Best to TRUST that you might bump into one another another time, again in a “safe,” public space.

    I still cannot believe how many of my friends get into the car with a guy they just met on the Internet. Guess it’s the old City Girl in me, right? I trust, but only to a point. GREAT write, C. Peace, Amy

  17. so much compassion for yourself, the stranger, and everyone… wanting to connect and fearful, protective all at once… so in the small interactions, still there are moments of meaningful connection… and that has to be enough. Beautiful writing Claudia, beautiful.

  18. Claudia you do it again! A most powerful story and writing — the call of our cultures!

  19. Oh, trust. I am so bad at that. I’ll talk to strangers – I guess it’s still remnants of adolescent rebellion – and only notice when it’s too late that this person is, in fact, a stranger, and then that film starts playing… Heh. I’m going to Berlin in a week. Loved this, especially the fourth stanza. Felt like I was in that moment myself. I would be looking at the boardwalk too. Thanks for the read 🙂

  20. You wrote about the tension of being open and friendly, on the one hand, and being careful, even suspicious, on the other. It is a sad world that these days, we have to put up barriers to keep ourselves safe.

  21. Even wonderful, lazy days can be ruined by suspicions. Oh the things we miss from fear. Too bad your advisor is a murderous rapist with a cellar. But your poetry still reminds me of laying on our backs, sister Cay and I, 5 and 10 years old respective, watching puffy clouds go by. The wind would gently brush the unkempt grass, with its long seeding stalks, into the corner of my eye. It smelled so wonderful. The sky a writhing blue and the world was still a loving place. That’s the thing I couldn’t remeber, the great elusion of my better self. Your poetry always reminds me of happy days, taken for granted as they were…. Again, Claudia, lovely poem.

  22. Probably just as well. It could have been a worse scenario: he might have turned out to be a bore 🙂
    Entertaining description of one of those moments that only happen in big cities. Not so much anymore these days with everybody on their ‘hendi’.

  23. This had me happy at first, then just broke my heart. I know exactly what you mean in this poem and have been there, and as I wrote long ago in a poem (about pornography, of all things) “I let them steal my holiness, and I wish I could get it back.” This just a difficult, but rewarding read.

  24. A wonderful narrative style to this poem. I was there, with you, chatting with the stranger then getting cold feet. It is a sad fact that bad things do happen when we trust the wrong person, even sadder when the trust would have been rewarded had we only not been conditioned by horror stories in the news.

  25. That last bit was unexpected–from a casual conversation to world-shaking fears. Beautiful work here. We cannot return to the Garden, but little by little we can try to recover something of that blessedness.

  26. Hi Claudia, Sharing two completely thoughts I had while reading this, the first is on these lines:
    ” funny how
    life develops sometimes, takes
    us along roads we never thought
    would be an option”
    So true, think we can all agree with this, at least know that I can from my own experience. The second comment regards the last stanza. It is a sad world we live in where everyone and everything is suspect, and behind every corner is an ax-murderer. A lot of truth in your words.

  27. a great interlude with such a sad ending…the way of the world makes us think twice doesn’t it… and what do we miss out on because we are so frightened to cast caution to the wind…

  28. Oh I know exactly how this feels. I long for those “trustworthy” days too. I think we all tend to look back in the good ol’ days in a nostalgic way, not just because of time and memory, but because of the feelings of magic and trust the world was once full of. Bad fruits have definitely sucked some of the magic in our world today…

  29. Claudia,

    Another wonderful read here..you have a way of capturing the moment..I can visualize the setting and it really is sad that fear holds us back at times.

  30. Ha ha! He would have shown you die Kreuzung am Rosenthaler Strasse and you would have been amazed. Hihi! 🙂

    That said, there is a rule. 🙂


    Ein guter Baum bringt gute Früchte.
    Ein fauler Baum kann nicht so tun.
    An Früchten sie erkennen möchte
    der Tor. Geschmack macht wohl immun.

  31. O, wow…does this ever resonate! Reminds me of the time a very nice South American man offered to carry my grocery bags to my apartment building, just to the door…and I politely refused picturing exactly what you did…I’d like that garden of innocence too.! Love this write. 🙂 xo

  32. Wow. You caught me off guard there. I love the line “i’m not prepared to talk to someone, so i fall silent.” Then, when the mood shifts, the words describing the fears that pop into your head are themselves ugly and intrusive images, so we readers are right there with you, all they way through the melancholic end. It is very sad, the humanity we’ve lost. But this man and this woman had a moment, that is still a thing of beauty. I think this is my favorite of yours I have read so far (and not just because someone was tied up, ha ha).

  33. So many thoughts about this one, Claudia. The joy of the encounter, the scene as it unfolds, the beauty of the city, and then the shattering (prudent) trust at the end. And such is life today. We have, by necessity, become so fear-filled.

  34. Such a sad ending. I’m not so sure that it’s just today we worry, having just recently read Katherine Mansfield’s “The Little Governess”, and how before travelling, the protaganist was warned about men, only to fall prey to a grandfatherly type man.

  35. wow, the ending really struck, quite contrary to the flow and feel of the piece. it was quite perfectly done and hit just right; I think it helped to drive the point at the end. nicely done.

  36. A sad reality. I want to back to those days where contracts were made with just a person’s word and people actually kept their word! Trust…a rare commodity!

  37. Fantastic poem that tells a cool story, then brings home the greater message – what this world has taken from us in the way of trust and innocence. Terrific writing!

  38. reality meets romantic and practicality and safety win out. I’m glad – but the poem almost had me wishing for the romance version… but we must leave that for the movies, I guess. 🙂

  39. Oh this is is something almost any woman can relate to, sadly. That last stanza is powerful. The only thing that didn’t feel right to me, personally, was the mix of upper & lower case words at the end. Felt distracting. But the rest is beautiful.

  40. An entire b/w mid-european film in a few lines, wonderful. The ending captures the essential sad alienation of our times, fear divides us so much us, where we would go , how far travel in it’s absence? Thank you, Kevin


    “I take it,” she said, “you are lucent.
    My touch at this place is quite recent.”
    “I’ll show you around,
    around on the ground,”
    said he, “and let heaven be absent.”

  42. life develops sometimes, takes
    us along roads we never thought
    would be an option

    and sometimes that is where the trust went…sad but true.

    wonderful things to think about in this piece

  43. ugh I loved this write… a poetic conversation indeed. I really like strangers–met a couple friends just walking by on the streets really… that was years ago though, when I was a teen… as I’ve grown older I reailze most aren’t willing to stop for a chat anymore, in many ways I do understand why to be honest…

  44. Love how you communicated the horrors that flash in our minds when interacting with certain people. There’s a nice, subtle build-up of tension in here, even with all the ‘friendliness.’ I enjoyed the way you made this poem move. Smiles. Powerful piece.

  45. Lovely, sad, terrifying and in its Ending Friendship has been polluted by so much despair and terror in modern life. Wonderful that we can share so much, and then have the past or the realities of this life come barging in to shred our humanity to pieces. You remind me so much of what peace might entail in this brave new world. So many possibilities, so many nightmares.

  46. So we ever know… i love this line
    life develops sometimes, takes
    us along roads we never thought
    would be an option

    What is in store and when will we know the meaning
    Thank you for this journey

  47. flow of words is enthralling & each line is beautifully woven to captivate the readers..Last lines so touching..Claudia smiles:)) GOD<3U