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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
My First Landscape
My first landscape.
Concrete first. Between two sheds.
(Bicycles and coal.)
Beyond the concrete, grass -
both crawled across
until the grass stopped suddenly,
the rose bed massing hues for our delight
at journey's end for me,
drawn not by blooms, but by
the fallen petals on the ground.
These early odysseys, but fading memories
pinned to a photograph or two,
cross-referenced with later recollections -
like perfumes from the petals,
made for mum and gran,
received with great enthusiasm.
Never whiffed again.
Clear as crystal though, the coal shed memories;
there I'd build my own Black Mountains in the dark.
Apart from that, there is a mist
until the day I passed my first horizon: that
of the trellis, almost garden-wide and backing
all the standards, floribundas, hybrid teas
and shrubs with high-rise climbing plants.
Soon I would discover whole new continents:
a corner full of lilies of the valley,
a path edged either side
with gooseberries and other fruits,
the bushes low enough for me to taste -
and tear my flesh.
There was one far horizon that would wait
maybe another year or so:
tall loganberries formed the final screen.
Beyond were apple, plum and elderberry.
None gave more pleasure, though,
than those Black Mountains in the dark.