Neil Elder’s shed


Garden Time
“A big stick is what you need.”
I remember saying as he hacked about
the garden of our first home,
armed with just a set of shears.

The house had stood so long deserted
it was hard to know quite where to start;
inside or out, back or front?
Wherever we began, the work was hard and wearing.
Every evening we collapsed into each other’s company,
and spoke of where the paths we made would lead.

Well, I had just remarked about the stick
when he then shouted “Snake!”
From under the compost heap it came,
two foot in length at least;
a green brown blur that slid beneath the shed.
“There’s more life in this garden
than we dreamt,” he said.
And so we left a corner to grow wild
and shifted our attention to the rest.
Neil has had work published in various magazines such as Acumen, Prole, Envoi, South and The Interpreter’s House. The recent anthology from Belgrave Press, ‘The Book of Love and Loss’ includes work by him. In 2014 Neil was shortlisted for The Frogmore Poetry prize and the Wells Literary Festival Poetry Competition. Neil is a member of Herga Poets in Harrow with whom he has done several readings, including at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. Neil teaches in Ealing and has a young family to test his writing on.

4 thoughts on “Neil Elder’s shed”

  1. Excellent story telling. And I love how the poem ends – with a corner left alone for wild life could still be wild 😀 Reminds me of a rural homes where I have lived in the past. Thanks.

  2. “and spoke of where the paths we made would lead.” My favourite line in this poem – makes me think of the beginning of new relationships, with each other or with a new home or garden. And the shed the pivotal part of all this. And how we create our own paths, watching out for those snakes in the grass that can slither into view with no warning. I enjoyed this poem – thank you.

  3. The very generous comments prove what a useful and interesting site this is – knitting us together. / I found myself in a new home cutting stuff down in the garden and I realised my first acts had been to get rid of plants rather than to grow things. I decided to think more about what I left to grow and I have little interest in a perfectly manicured garden. The urban wildlife continues to thank me by visiting.


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