A Photo That Inspires – Leanne Cole – June 20, 2014

(c) Leanne Cole

(c) Leanne Cole

The Bench

Years past, bushes and undergrowth grew ever higher in the abandoned garden.  Once so full of sun-shine and summer glow, now the pathway seems to go through a mysterious forest, something you might have read about in a fantasy novel.

The old wooden bench, rotting now, had been where James and Maryanne sat with a wide space between them, as was proper for their age.  The space slowly became smaller and smaller ’til their arms touched, they held hands.  Their first kiss, under a misty moon on a summer’s eve, told them that they were made for one another.

He asked her to marry him on that bench, showing her a small diamond solitaire.  She of course said yes.  Returning from their honeymoon, they’d walk through the garden afer work, then sit on “their” bench enjoying the fireflies flitting and the cool evening breeze.

Their son was born in 1915, on the day that the great war began.  Of course they couldn’t have known that at the time, but in later years, Mark would tell his new acquaintances his birthdate adding the factoid.  They would take the babe in his carriage on Sunday mornings after church and eat pastries, laughing and remarking about the passersby.

In 1917, James was drafted into the army.  His country, like a knight on a white horse, had decided to save fair England from falling to the Hun, though that’s not what the papers said.  They said that an American ship had been wantonly torpedoed by the Germans who’d broken their promise not to fire indiscriminately on ships in the North Atlantic …

James died one dark moonless night in a trench somewhere near the French-German border, up to his knees in the sucking mud that had formed after a week of rain.  Some officer nominated him for a purple cross and a medal of honor.  Mark still has them in a glass case.

Maryanne was never the same.  She soon left the country and went to live in Australia with Mark, opened a restaurant in Brisbane which had a certain success.  She never remarried and died in 1939.

The bench sits rotting in the over-run garden abandoned … ah, the stories it could tell you, never written still unknown.  Simple stories that will never see the inside of a history book.

the bench rots
under a jungle of bushes
lost memories

Written for Leanne Cole’s : A Photo That Inspires Words



16 thoughts on “A Photo That Inspires – Leanne Cole – June 20, 2014

  1. Wow … so painful and beautiful! This is amazing. Sad thing — I can see it happening too. I’m sure it *did* happen, even though the story is entirely woven and skillfully crafted by *you*. Have you thought about sharing it at Beautiful Haibun on Medium? Managua really needs to see this — he’d be “wowed”! 🙂

    As am I!


          • It’s too bad too, because it’s so simple to use. Doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles, but gosh is it ever easy to use. It’s a shame that so many blogging sites and social media sites are all inter-connected like that.


          • Like Blogspot with google … I actually have a Blogspot account … got it back when it was a completely do it yourself place, haven’t written there for years though. I’ll give it a thought, but darn, I’ve got accounts all over the yahoo (encluding yahoo by the way) and never ever look at them!


          • Seriously. I have so many unattended email accounts, accounts with various social sites that I visit maybe once or twice a year … plus Blogspot too … like you I used it a long time ago but have moved on.


          • Yep … exactly, so it just bothers me to add more “junk” to my cart. So though his medium ect. sounds interesting when I clicked and saw I was obliged to add yet another social network or whatever it’s called to my already creaking cartload of junk I just said … oh well, and in fact didn’t write for Ligo haibun ’til Ese started putting up the posts again with Mr. Linky …


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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