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The Riverhill Effect

waterloo_cedar

The Riverhill Effect

This morning I could count the flowers in my garden:
two yellow roses, three purple irises, seventeen weedy daisies;
tiny tokens from Mother Nature.
Cracker prizes for getting this far.

Riverhill has won more.
Thousands of wedding dresses
drift above the paths with joy and light;
hundreds of silky Gothic bodices
flirt in curtained corners;
and tens of tall, trousered pines
proclaim that they shall not be moved.
Life. Living. Lived.

Because at the end of the day
those tattered, tired flower-frocks are allowed to drop
to the creeping, spidery floor, where they are welcomed
by the stink of compassionate rotting and living decay.
Until, with deadly magic, rips are mended,
hems re-sewn, buttons replaced,
mud washed away, so that
the garden will wear new clothes next year,
harder-wearing, more beautiful, more abundant.

Lying on the grass, nose close to the earth,
eyes blind with pain and fear,
I can just smell the same rich rot in my own soil.
Here too is space for repair; for mending.
Simply let the flowers drop, let the compost work,
and we will both have new clothes next year.

Sara Carroll


Waterloo Cedar

In memory of Henry Buckley of the 15th Hussars

It’s a Sunday afternoon, 18th June 1815. Lunchtime.
The battle of Waterloo. Nobody is quite sure
when it started, watches then were set by the sun.
A shot, a charge. Wellington. Napoleon. Armies
of tens of thousands, delayed by weather, thick mud.

Henry. A brave young man at 18. Had some lover’s
hands once undone the toggles of his tunic, gold braid,
felt his chest before the sword? A hedge of bayonets.
Troop colours: blue, yellow, red and blue. Battle honours,
and yet he died, one of many. Others injured, or missing.

It was to be the end of Napoleon’s one hundred
days in exile – this tree now over one hundred feet high.
Afterwards they built the Lion’s Mound to mark the spot
where the English beat the French, with a little help.
Henry. Futile fields. Was it for this the clay grew tall?

Light cavalry, horses in battle, the conclusion: ‘a close thing…’
In bookshops now, row upon row of military history
every decision recorded, catalogued, codified. Today this
cedar, grown so tall, in spite of further war the world over.
Here now, give thanks for Henry and all who’ve gone before.


Steve Walter

 

Innerspace
after John O’Connor

Bolt your feet to the ground,
centre yourself in the cavity
of your chest.

Breathe out.
Extend your arms
so they’re rigid as planks.

Right-angle your hands, stretch

fingers like claws, so palms
push imaginary walls.

Turn your back on the vast valley

of sky, the earth below

too deep, too wide.

Look down, let shoulders
take the strain, neck buckle
with the weight of clouds.

Breathe in, limbs quartering

the light. Close your eyes,

let darkness swim.

Karen Dennison

 

 
Day Out

The garden of Kent rolls from my feet,
a shift of soil thin as a pauper’s shroud
across shoulders of chalk.

Traffic slurs the space between bird song
and in the distance green shifts to blue.
Azaleas punch fists of glamour at the June sky
and rhododendrons choir open throated song.

Two dreamers on the lawn
shut their lids to the view.
Shadows sculpt hidden eyes
that watch the spark and pulse
of tangerine clouds rimmed with lime.

Legs astride, arms wide as a tent
the statue on the hill
pushes open an invisible space,
commands me – Be here now!

Sheena Clover

 

 

Uncategorized

There’s no river at Riverhill…

group

Riverhill, June 2015

Riverhill (I)

There is no river
at Riverhill, the name comes
from Saxon: ‘rither’.

Riverhill (II)

Listen to jackdaws
chip at the edge of the breeze
staccato laughter.

Riverhill (III)

I am no gardener
and yet I love a garden
which rises and loves.

Steve Walter

shut the gate

Please Shut the Gate

Open your mind and let the words flow, like water, like breeze, like bees from flower to flower.

Stop once in a while to taste nectar and drink in fragrant morning scent.

Break down walls of daily life to find those private thoughts of yours and mine to listen to the garden as you keep to the gravel paths. Longing to break free from rules, delight in rabbits who cannot read but leave their calling cards written in a code of Hansel and Gretel droppings across worn banks.

Ladies called Rose walk into a secret world of dens amidst Himalayan Rhododendrons back into a childhood before flowers became spelling tests.

Sit on twisted trunks gaze upwards whilst climbing trees with adult shoes to balance words.

Old tiles stacked near the Car Park are nature’s bookcase etched with lichen script.

Gardens filled with nodding Alliums, a remedy to soothe the soul with purple heads of full stops in proliferation. Listen to nature’s placebo for modern life with its soundtrack of summer mistletoe accompanied by kissing bees.

Caroline Auckland

wall

All photos copyright of Caroline Auckland

Glasshouse Occupants
(Remembering the Victorian gardeners)

I arrive as sun stakes her claim
on the top panes − light hangs low −
a pearly thread woven through cloud.

Imagine the frame’s wooden bones creak
with old age, prop themselves up
like shoulder blades loosed from skin,

each beam rasps for the memory
of gardeners long gone.
I hear earth split, spread rumours

about pollen, spit seeds from clumps
of mud unlacing palm leaves
with a single flick of its tongue.

Abegail Morley