Who will look after the garden while I’m gone?


For Basia


I will,’ said January.
‘I will anchor it to the earth with snowdrops.
I will give it my stone, the garnet.’
‘It is mine,’ said February.
‘I will feed it the memory of all that grows.
I will welcome it with my stone the amethyst and with primrose.’

‘I will coax it with bloodstone and daffodil,’ said March,
Like a boxer battered by winter
I will lift myself from the frosty canvas of the earth to welcome it.’
‘With diamond and daisy I will seduce it.

“I will soak it in shower after shower,’ said April.
‘In the yawny earth its seeds will riot.’
‘I will make it dizzy with emeralds
And the fumes of the hawthorn,’ said May.
‘It will know of nothing but play.’

‘And I will adorn it with necklaces of honeysuckle and ruby,’ said June.
‘Their clasps will be made out of the honeybees wings.’
It will dance to my languid tune.’

I will contain it,’ said July.
‘I will handcuff it with briar and chrysolite,
Drug it with the scent of roses.’

August spoke from the garden’s still centre.
‘I will weep layer upon layer of sardonyx.
I will teach it the brevity of poppies.’

‘When its bones begin to creak
I will cure it with aster and opal,’
Promised September

I will guide it towards sleep with the cold light of sapphires.
For its lullaby I will provide the swan-song of dahilias,’
Said October.

‘Under the dead weight of chrysanthemums I will bury it,’
Said November.

‘I will give it a headstone of topaz, a rosary of berries.’
‘And I will guard its sleep,’ said December.
‘On a pillow of moonstone
It will dream of holly and the coming snowdrop.’



Brian Patten: Garden Lore

Paintings by Adrian Henri

Thanks to Malcolm Paul







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