Sunday, October 25, 2009

Being There

Yesterday was fine and relatively warm. Helen, my school-girl gardener came for a couple of hours. She and Anne tidied up the pots, pulled out rocket, parsley, coriander and spinach that had gone to seed, and refilled the pots with potting mix. They did plant cos seedlings and spread rocket seed.

Normally on Labour Day weekend I plant tomatoes and courgettes but the weather is still ‘winterish’ to coin a word, and the soil is cold. So we’ll wait a bit. It was sad to see the polyanthus go – they have been a cheery show. Helen transplanted two cyclamen from their pots to the fernery garden. There is little space to heel old plants in like I used to in the old place, but these were birthday presents so I'll keep them.

I watched the pair work with mixed emotions. There is pleasure in anticipation of harvest and flowers but I feel helpless and useless as I look on. I can give advice and make requests but the satisfaction of being a hands-on gardener has gone.

Lauris Edmond in one of her poems in Late Song aptly sums up an aspect of that satisfaction.


There must be a moment
when a flower opens
a bud splits
a leaf breaks and falls -

you never see it, You wake up to find
mushrooms in the autumn paddock,
fully expanded pink impatiens cluster
where last night one flower
bloomed in the dusk,

the speckled scarlet day lily
a dried husk which minute by
midnight minute, shed yesterday’s
necessary sun. Nobody's ever there.

But I was. I am, indisputably here
the jasmine tangle on my shed wall
moved, it just did, and a geranium flower
opened its last petal. It’s out. Now.

For a day, for a week; an invisible step
in the dance of creation
pointed its toe, put it down
tap, tap, without sound
on the shimmering floor of the world.

Bars, rocks, fists of blood, bombs falling
Couldn’t stop it happening.

Lauris Edmond

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