My watercolour painting of a tree on The Rock Walk.
Nature's Sculpture Gallery, was how I thought of it and wondered who'd curated it, what genius had had gathered these exhibits and what s/he'd meant to show. The Rock Walk, it was called, which was perhaps a clue. An inland cliff. A narrow, sandy path descending -- always wet -- with, to the left, a wall of rock, and to one's right, a drop -- in places sheer -- down to a wide and verdant vale, floor thick with grass, the edges rich in many forms of tree and matted undergrowth. And yet for me the Rock walk beat them all, was more than just a route down to a valley floor. Boulders of every shape and size with calligraphic marks and signs, most blotched with mosses, wrapped in ferns and liverworts and written on with lichen signatures. Simple geometric shapes were there. Exhibits too, of subtle or of tortured form, trees interspersing them -- the world of text turned inside out: characters to punctuate a script of punctuation marks. Had that been all, the fascination would have been complete, but then there were the roots! Roots like snakes, like strings on fossil lutes, unworldly instruments. But everywhere the sinews stretched and wound round tree and rock form to create a wonderland in what remained and dark and clammy place. Strangest fo all, perhaps, the songs from hidden birds. They never failed. I often wondered why the birds did not prefer the sunlit glades beyond.The Rock Walk is -- or was -- part of the scene at Wakehurst Place, otherwise known as Kew in the country. I visited Wakehurst again a year or two back, after not having done so for a long time, but did not seek out The Rock Walk. They had made some fundamental changes since my previous visit, and so I have written this in the past tense, not knowing if the walk is still as I recall it.
Written for Mary in Poetics at dVerse Poets who has suggested either Leonard Cohen or a favourite place as our theme.