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Monday, 13 June 2011

Derek Jarman's Garden

Photos of Dungeness, Lydd
This photo of Dungeness is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The sea brought sculptures to his door:
a heft of timber like a megalith
bleached marble-white, salt stained and pitted,
mortised by a craftsman long ago
to give a window on this flotsam world.

And through that window, flints and shells
sea kale and cotton lavender, a tangle here
of wire, a Gordian Knot of rope, a twist
of driftwood; lovingly arranged on shingle
into which by wizardry the plants are pressed

that are indigenous to this lone beach,
equipped to fight the salty winds
for their continuance. We too are threatened
and the threat seems real: across the beach,
a hulk-like shape that could irradiate us all.

Derek Jarman (Jan '42 - Feb '94); film director, stage designer, artist, author, diarist, lived in Prospect Cottage on the beach at Dungeness in the shadow of the atomic power station. He created a unique garden from what was there and what could survive there. There were, and are, no fences. No boundaries. The garden is part of the beach and is continuous with it. The cottage is not exactly open to the public, but his fans have maintained it and the garden in the style he made his own.


Windsmoke. said...

Remnants of a past life are washing up on this beach of the future :-).

Isabel Doyle said...

sculpture a bit like poetry - fashioned from words that are there, but arranged by the artist's ear and eye

welcome back

Mary said...

Dave, I enjoyed this poem and your comments. I admire Jarman for what he did with what washed up, and those who continue to keep his work alive. (And I agree with Isabel's comment.)

The Weaver of Grass said...

And there is nowhere quite like it in the whole world Dave.

Art Durkee said...

Nice to see this, and well done.

Jarman is something of a hero of mine. I have over a dozen of books, or books about him, and several films on DVD. Re-reading his journal entries about Dungeness not too long ago, it was all fresh in mind, so I really enjoyed this poem.


Titus said...

Wonderful reminder of somewhere I haven't thought about for quite some time. Loved the enjambment between verses 2 and 3 - really felt like the heart of the poem for me.

Carl said...

Wonderful poem. Welcome back!

Hannah Stephenson said...

I like how his space was fenceless and open....very of the ocean.

Seeing art in what gets discarded is very appealing to me (very like poetry, huh?).

lucychili said...

interesting thanks =)

Dave King said...

I am charmed by the way you put it, more so than by the post itself.

Perfect analogy. Like it!

Absolutely, he was a remarkable man, and what he left is a remarkable tribute to him.

The Weaver of Grass
I'm sure there isn't. I certainly know of nowhere like it.

I first saw the cotage and garden way back. It was my introduction to him. I had heard of him before that, but didn't really get to know his work until later. Thanks for your comment.

The poem sprang out of a similar moment. I, too, hadn't thought about the place in a long time, and then I came across a reference to it, and it all came flooding back.

Thanks Carl, feels good to be back, though it's a case of now you see me, now you don't, I'm afraid. This weekend we have the Silver Wedding celebrations, so I will not be visiting, though the postings will continue.

Yes, I felt that the lack of boundaries was an important part of it. As is the art made from rejected objects, whatever washed up on the shore.

Thanks for commenting.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Both lovely and interesting!

Dave King said...

My thanks for the comment.