I Hope to Write a Garden.
I hope to write a garden. I hope to know its secrets – its rough, intriguing stonework features that hide in clustered grasses; its shrouded walls where dense ivy gives way to clambering clematis and honeysuckle hoards; its winding footways, its nooks and crescents, its shadows and sunlight rippled clearings. I hope to roam into its depths, where purple cones of bright buddleia are cocked on twigs; crimson and many toned azaleas dazzle the eye; and sunflowers – proud of their packed bulk – stand tall above all. I hope to write gazebos, elegantly latticed; enclosed sculptures of wild green men and weathered, sessile buddhas; sudden fountains of clear, cold water.
I hope to write my way into this peace and seclusion, this haven of mild breezes, buzzing bees, and darting damselflies. I hope to write its subtle scents, vying in the warm air for contact with the cilia and damp, inner skin of my nostrils. That jasmine tinge, that florid efflux with its shifts and tints that overwhelm and disappear as if at whim. I hope to write sparrows, thrushes and linnets, warblers and finches, all flitting through my bright, bushy maze, with their songs of cadenced chirrup, jabber and high pitched rill. To see them flash from cover, gather in groups, peck, preen and suddenly scatter as if by an unseen signal.
To plant for my pleasure with no wish to reap, simply to sow and watch as seedling stretches to stem and branch, to leaf and flower and fruit; as seasons work their passage and weather takes its many turns. To watch from unseen vantage, as yellow caterpillar squirms, green shield bug struts and striated snail slowly slides to extend its glistening trail.
I hope to write all this and more, as I stare from my window at a small rectangle of patchy lawn and a straight stretch of stone paving with a scattering of scrawny weeds that grow through the cracks. I look down at the unforgiving fencing that encloses this arid scrap from the rectangles of my neighbours’ gardens. At the over-sized plastic waste bins that I have nowhere else to store. At the bin bags of clippings that I have yet to take to the dump; the corner bed where I do my best to preserve what’s left of some other gardener’s plantings or what the wind blows in to grow. And as I look my vision fades, my words become meaningless marks on the page.
I hope to write a garden, to type its mass of species, to dig beds and seed them with but a biro in my hands. To make terraces of A4 reams, raised beds of notebooks, dictionaries and volumes of reference. To make archways of essays, pillars of poems, ponds of prose and the twisting footpaths of storylines.
I hope to write a garden.