What if …?


What if … ?
Secret Garden 5

Here, between the hedges,
snakes the maze.
We can see the entrance.
We know where the exit lies.
We can even see each other
on our separate paths,
but we can’t come close
unless we break the rules.

Faced by constantly forking paths
we play the “What if … ?” game.
There are no answers,
just a series of trials and errors
where right and wrong
are paths we may, one day,
be forced to choose.

for we cannot stand here
Sun travels sky,
casts shadows long over
labyrinth and lawn.
Fish rise to flies on the lily
pond and life slips slowly by
as we ponder each decision,
over and over.

Time’s up.
The uniformed keeper
moves toward us.
Jumping low hedges,
we meet, hold hands,
and hurry to the exit.
Behind us,
the keeper smiles.
He rakes our foot
prints from the path.
The gates click closed.


Fifty years ago today, Clare arrived in Canada. A friend drove me to Malton Airport, as it was then, and we waited for her to clear Customs and Immigration. While waiting, I played the “What if …?” game. “What if she’s not on the plane? What if she doesn’t like the apartment I’ve rented? What if she no longer likes me? What if she hates it here? What if she wants to go home?” So many questions stormed through my head. There were no answers, just a series of trials and errors where right and wrong were paths we chose; and we chose to get married, to stay, and to make Canada our home. Fifty years later, to the day, the “What if … ?” game goes on. The playing field has changed, the game rules are different, it’s a whole new ball game … yet we still ponder each decision, over and over. We have changed, both of us, over the last fifty years together. Changed, yes, but deep down we are still the same, for some things never change. And we are happy to keep it that way. Oh yes: and we still hold hands.

16 thoughts on “What if …?

  1. What if, what if? Oh those questions are my torture! At least because I usually ask them in retrospect, ‘what if I had done this instead of that?’ I love these trips down memory lane, Roger! And I’m glad (bit not surprised) that you still hold hands. ✨💖✨

    Liked by 1 person

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