Up the garden path

The twelve paths of the unspoken
garden do not go anywhere
but lead everywhere

They go to places that do not exist.
They are:
arboreal treads
avenues of apostacy
trails of faith 
routes to conflict
retreats to solace
cultural corridors 
continuous destinations
lines of un-sapped text.
Come walk with me
even though I have not uncovered it
I’ll show you what is not there.
If we pace ourselves
something is unleashed
by the beat of our soles.

Hopes are inhaled
regrets respired 
quandaries quelled 
solutions purloined.

Premonitions are potted
grafts plotted
brows un-knotted.
Here is the arch
of a haunting
a twist 
or wrist
in the branch
or arm
of a protagonist.

Here is the guard of dishonour, there the glasshouse, awaiting first stones,

and there the Escher stair always climbing up to the lowest level.

Here is the woodshed
where there’s something
chainsawingly nasty
near my

And here the quad where imaginary defrocked monks exorcise immodest unholy spirits

and scrub their tonsured scalps with the trailing mantilla  of woodland maiden aunts, 
while weeping their memories of clandestine deflowering, 
much lamented and hypocritically marked with anniversary buds.
but at the heart of it all
avian market
where the blues and great gossip
and the dog-collared parsons of peace
bless those who believe in angels
and robin
always the centre of attention
but never seen in company
sees off
the tree-creeper pick-pockets
squirrel the cache away.

Here hangs a swag-bag of
and tied
for subsequent
Beneath the baking apples 
she was
and always will be
Fernslayer’s realm
spawned an atheist’s
prayer book
and the
recipe for a tonic
to better
the juniper bitters.
The Bani-shed
in which I was self-exiled
to build a boat
and hence fit out
a crate of spies
that even those with
the best binoculars
could not see.
The Bani-shed:
a portal to Otherland
where celebs are strictly surreal
and folk
abducted from folk-tales
new lives
new homes
new stories
so many levels
on which to be wrong
as they leave
way markers
for we who follow.
High beneath
our lookout
the lake of contemplation
in its shallows
is never short of
unplumbed depths.
Heavy thoughts
have surfaced there.

Tread carefully on that gravel
lest you knit my dreams
too tightly.
Some paths seem to be dead ends
where water butts
block the wandering
have you seen
the bounty
in those barrels
a little further south
compost compounds
the gone
into that which
rise again?

Who needs angels?
Nature’s seraphim
never die
they just
Round and round the garden
like a tethered bear
pacing like a captive tiger
souring like a fallen fruit.
Paths that 
wound from Arden
to Hoghton
as the bard 
versed to punctuate
his Elizabethan boyhood.
Where the hammock
now comforts
rose thorns
once caught the eye
and pricked
the memory
of unsettled ghosts
in haunting stories
of Lancashire lives.
The meat of the rotting apples
smells sweet
crushed underfoot
ferments into 
a firmament
a reconstituted paradise
as all paradises are
and perpetual life
by much-delayed
heavenly precipitation
inky soil
soiled ink.
Let me lead you
up the garden path.

You can
leave me there.



The unspoken garden has influenced so many scribblings including:

Of course, she was in the garden.  There she was, rummaging in the bushes beneath the baking-apple tree, trowel in hand, foam kneeler beneath her knees, hair fastened back in the shortest of pony tails revealing a smudge of soil on her cheek. “Hello,” she said, kneeling up. “How was it?”

“Okay.  Why are you digging there?”

“Hazel nuts.  I know how much you like them.”

“What – harvesting or planting?”

“Recovering. I hid them here last autumn. They don’t grow on trees you know.” She giggled and her face split into the smile that always slew me.

Click on the pic to read more.

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One thought on “Up the garden path

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