Jan 1st. Bleak midwinter.
No one told the plants….
And here’s a poem from my upcoming anthology…
My garden is peeping out, unsure if it’s welcome yet,
Testing the atmosphere, checking on the timing.
Is there a warmth to our greetings, or a frost?
The plants, the ones we love, they are coy and shy.
The weeds are the gatecrashers to our horticultural party.
They are brazen, muscling past our forks and trowels,
Pushing the daffs and primroses to one side.
White skin-budded thugs, shaven headed,
Lying in wait in the dark loam, muggers in alcoves.
When we pull back the leaves, they thrust past, creating mayhem.
They crave the best soil, the blackest tilth
As their play area.
Black is good in the garden.
Pale chalk or sickly clay are the feeble, despised bases,
Lacking fibre, elements and nourishment.
They seek out the rich dark friable peaty earth,
The blackest , the brownest.
Like coal and oil, peat is fuel, a source of wealth, heat and power,
All contained in the ground.
We can’t do without this dark hued matter
Yet we still underplay the importance of its blackness,
We still give it a negative connotation,
Still we see the light, the pale, the white as somehow better.
The garden knows best, even the bleachy-headed weeds.
They know the yin and yang of gardening:
Nothing much grows without the sun and the light.
But nothing is nurtured, preserved and nourished without the soil and the black.
Why didn’t we see this all those years ago?
Why are we still blind?