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Sunday 17 February 2013

The Rock Walk

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.


Brian Miller said...

ha. love the fascination for nature i hear in your words dave...i feel much the same...this sounds like a really magical place...stinks that change happens to places like that as well..and someone deems them not important...

Claudia said...

oh wow...that sounds like a magical path and my fantasy went in all direction as i read this...very cool capture dave..love the roots...

Grace said...

What a wonderful painting of nature ~ I specially love your description of the roots, like snakes, like strings, and the songs from the hidden birds ~ Fascinating write as always Dave ~

Tabor said...

Both the painting and photograph have captured me totally. Would love to see it in the flesh.

Mary said...

Dave, I really loved your painting, first of all. You DO have talent. Do you have this painting framed and hanging in your home, Dave?

And you wrote about the rock walk with such detail. Thus, you have painted the picture with both brush AND words. Together: what a beautiful whole!

Laurie Kolp said...

A wonderful place it sounds like... and I love your painting.

Judy Roney said...

What an interesting poem about such an intriquing place. Makes me think of the places (spots) that I could capture in words. Your painting is beautiful.

Carl said...

Awesome painting, memory and poem. Thanks Dave.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful painting, lovely poem. k.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Stunning lines and pictures too.
Pictures of roots reminding me of Buddha in his cross-legged posture, his legs at one with the twisting roots at the Gazelle Park, Benares.

Gerry Snape said...

I was hoping that you would post some more of your art Dave....so thankyou ...and great!

A Cuban In London said...

What a fascinating painting and beautiful poem. I loved the way you compared the roots to snakes and strings. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Janette Kearns Wilson said...

I have been away from blogging for over a year...and you have painting on...how super.

Anonymous said...

It is great to read work with a similar interest as mine own-- and from a painter as well. Beautiful watercolor and poem. ~peace, Jason

Cloudia said...

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the
hand of man. ~Author Unknown

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

ALOHA from Honolulu!
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Ygraine said...

What an amazing place this must have been to visit.
It reminds me of Puzzle Wood. I don't know if you've ever been there, but it sounds very similiar. What stands out in my memory most of all, is the fabulous array of ancient, twisted tree roots. They were truly mesmerising...just like in your wonderful pictures here.
I must visit your Rock Walk soon and see it for myself.:)

Dave King said...

Many thanks to you all for your kind words. Be assured I do value each one very much indeed -- as I also value positive criticism.

I would like, though, to say a special word of welcome to those commenting here for the first time. Thank you for doing so. I hope you have found enough interest in the blog to do so again.

Kathy Reed said...

am catching up on Cohen posts and found this quite a special place that you wrote about...lovely painting as well ;)