Garden Monologue – Tarkovsky – The Sacrifice

The following is one of the most moving monologues I have ever heard in a film. It is from Tarkovsky’s last film “The Sacrifice.” The character sits talking to a young girl on the eve of nuclear holocaust and laments the nature of man. Reading it does not have the same effect as watching it, but I cannot find it in clip form anywhere on the net so this will have to do.

And for the other people on the net looking for this thing… You are welcome =)

Years ago
Before I was married
I often went to visit my mother in the country.
She was still alive in those days.
Her house, a little cottage,
Was surrounded by a garden
A little garden
Dreadfully neglected and overgrown
No one had tended it for many years
And I don’t think
Anyone had ever been in it.
Even then my mother was very ill
She almost never left the house
Still… Amidst the ruin of the garden
There was something that was, in its way, beautiful.

Now I know what it was.

When the weather was fine…
She often sat at the window…
Looking out at the garden
She even had a special chair by the window.
Once, though, I decided that I would tidy things up
In the garden that is.
I wanted to mow the grass
Burn the weeds, prune the trees
On the whole,
I wanted to redo the garden in my own taste
With my own hands
Yes, simply to please my mother.
And for two solid weeks
I went at it with shears and a scythe.
I dug and cut
And sawed
And weeded…
I kept my nose to the ground literally
And I took great pains to get it ready
As soon as possible.
My mothers condition grew worse
And she kept to her bed.
But I wanted her to be able…
To sit by the window
And see her new garden.
In short, when I was finished
And everything was ready
I took a bath
Put on fresh underwear,
A new jacket, even a tie.
Then I sat down in the chair
To see what I had made,
Through her eyes as it were,


I sat there…

And looked out the window.
I had prepared myself to enjoy the sight…
Anyway, I looked out the window and saw…

What did I see?

Where had all the beauty gone?
The naturalness of it?
It was so disgusting
All that evidence of violence!

I remember once
When my sister was young.
She went to a barber and had her hair cut.
It was the fashion then.
Her hair was unbelievably lovely,
Golden yellow like Lady Godiva’s.
She came home pleased as punch.

Then my father saw her.

He began to cry.
I think it was the same with the garden.

Humans and Spiders and Love and Poetry

A Human Who Needs Other Humans

She had sores on her face
And her clothes did not fit her
And she was running from group to group
Drunk, and dirty, and clumsy.
No one wanted to be near her
And all the people snickered and laughed
At her pitiful ways
Then she came up to me
And my friends
And wanted to shake my hand.
She just wanted to talk
To me, to anybody.
I did not want her to touch me
And she soon moved on
Sad and lonely.
I will never see her again.
And I know now
I should have shaken her hand
I should have smiled
I should have sat down
And listened to what she had to say
If not for her sake
Then for my own.

Mary Oliver

I drink in her words like tea
Sometimes two or three poems
Are sufficient for me
And I think of her and her muse
Whenever I walk the woods
Or soak in the river.
I think of her and her muse
When the bluejays nest by my patio
Or the spider weaves its intricate home above my head
I wonder if anyone loves Oliver
The way that she loves the world
And if my spirit will ever find the kind of peace
That hers has
Lying amongst the grass of the fields.

Spider’s Worship

The spider ran in circles
Nimble and gymnastic
with threads of silk
Ingeniously maneuvered
Into patterns by two back legs
Such a beautiful design
By so tiny an architect
And for no other reason
Than to gather food and water
Needed to continue the worship
That is its sweetly simple life.


If I could speak the language
Of the spider’s web
or the oak tree’s branches
I would know the words of God.
And if I could hear the music
Of the stoney creek bed
Or the windy wispy clouds
I would finally know the sound of His voice
How foolish am I?
To walk through life so full of pride
When I can not even understand
The simplest of things