The Spirit of the Garden
A Short Poem (as published in the poetry anthology “Behind The Spade” 1994)
By Anthony Bellaleigh.
The cold, grey blanket of winter is tightly wrapped around today.
Only heath and heather glow punctuates the gloom.
Even knowing of the transience it is still
So hard to believe
That this melancholy scene will explode with new vitality soon.
Yet, less of this hastiness!
This dank bitterness for my eyes is also laughter to my ears.
Laughter from the distant children.
Playing happily, regardless of the scene.
Nature wields a mighty power.
Coursing through all time with purpose and substance
For those who wish to see its manifestations.
So, like new world necromancers,
The spirits wield this ‘great essence’ across the vastness of the Earth.
Tap its power and channel to great fusillades of colour,
Magnificence of height and subtlety of texture.
An infinite overlap of wild and cultivated
Tapestries, scattered over every inch.
But, what of these spirits muses the mind.
Elf and fairy are not the things of adulthood.
Whatever dances round my plot,
Drawing out richness and delight,
Can only be a tangible, substantial being for my belief.
I smile and sigh, my pondering revolving, seemingly nowhere.
And standing, muddied in my own fantasy.
Look down and see, smiling back
From the surface of the cold pond,
The spirit of my garden.
This poem was written and published in a gardening themed poetry anthology back in 1994. At the time I was very proud of it, despite the fact that it was written in only a couple of hours. Maybe in a small way it, being selected for publication from amongst thousands of submissions, provided me with some encouragement that I should continue working on Firebird.
The poem tries to place the reader, in their garden in the dark months of winter. This imagined gardener is looking forward to the coming of Spring and the promise of warm days and bright colour. He/She muses over the miraculous process of the annual renewal of life and imagines powerful creatures or spirits weaving their magic over the winter-bound muddy and dank plot. But, of course, there are no fantasy creatures; the architect for next year’s show is standing there (probably wet and cold), clutching his/her spade and looking down at their own reflection in the cold garden pond.
They probably should get on with what they were out there to do…
Published in “Behind The Spade” (Poetry Now) 1994
(c) Anthony Bellaleigh 1994