Two Gardens

By Richard Williams

How many mornings slid one into another,

under the pergola of a lockdown garden,

a mug of black coffee as shadows swung by,

waiting for the page to turn.


A book half read the spine snapped back,

lost sense of time as new days began,

memories warped in the haze of recognition;

as if the past could yet be rerun.


There was a lawn once that much I can recall.

It had a long bay hedge that wrapped around,

lots of trees but no functioning swing,

(I may be wrong for I was young),


but my garden world was full of life,

of that I am sure for whatever it’s worth.

The air was clean the noise from traffic

was not this constant earworm hum.


When my parents divorced the house was sold.

We moved towards the centre of town,

put pieces together as much as we could,

cracks still showed what else could be done?


Truth was parked as the years trundled on.

I made my peace as the poison spread;

the taste of petrol on my morning run,

the heavy metals congealed in my lungs.


When we were trapped in April and March

and silence descended on our city home,

a blackbird called and I could hear

every trill, every repetition sung.


Sky soon cleared, road snarl was gone,

socially distanced as the miasma lifted,

life stretched out to an alternate future,

a glimpse of what we could become,


For there are choices that can still be made,

our ending is not quite yet defined.

As I sit here in my post-lockdown garden

it’s time to make the pages turn.


Inspiration: Gardens as sanctuary. I was thinking about the first garden I can remember, where I could escape the house to be in a completely different world. Then in the first lockdown, when everything was so quiet, I could properly listen to birdsong in my garden for the first time since I was a child, hear every note, nuance and repetition. Full circle, bookending the hectic chaos of intervening years. The poem really developed from that thought process. 


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