Language garden

January 16, 2017


Just a touch of snow draws snowdrops
up into bud-spikes. When the petals open out
they stand mute like notes on a stave

till played on by the wind that shakes them senseless.
Other green points poke through the soil
and my instinct is to cover them and incubate

all the bare little commas and dashes they try to be,
the gestures of voice, the slight syllables
that will mature into a slang of their own.

The roots of their meanings spread through
the winter earth, until in the spring the flowerbeds
fill with sentences, responding with scents.

Rebecca Gethin

(Rebecca writes in explanation of the poems origins: “I have started working again in a garden in a farmhouse on the edge of Dartmoor below Honeybag Tor. It is a second home so stands empty most of the time. But I don’t think it is empty at all. I am there to tidy the flower beds, being careful to avoid next spring’s bulbs which are already sprouting roots and shoots. I am aware that at least one face appears to be watching from the window… perhaps because it isn’t me they are watching or waiting for, it doesn’t worry me. They are living in another time and I am sure that I am not even noticeable to them. Water falls into a pond and wind whooshes through the pine trees. There is really no one but me in the garden or in the adjoining fields. I keep glancing up at the windows and think about the births, deaths and marriages this house has seen. Someone is being expected home and words are being had. I can’t get my head round what the story might be, try as I might. We are invisible to one another but time here must be thin as a tissue. I feel a deep sense of peacefulness. Odd really… you’d think I’d be finishing off as fast as I can and running away but I’m not. A shadow moves behind a window but it could just be the effect of wind-blown clouds?”)