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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.


The Weaver of Grass said...

What I love about this poem Dave is the intense smell associated with it - I really can almost smell those roses.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh yes. We had a coal shed too. A place of mystery and excitement. I love your memories, and they are so very familiar. Thank you.
Hope you are feeling much, much better.

Mary said...

I love your memories, Dave. You seem to have particularly strong ones of those early years. You give the reader the visuals and the smells, taking us right there with you. As far as a coal shed, well we had a coal bin in our basement. I can still remember the coal truck pulling up, dropping coal down the chute. It was so much easier after my dad eventually put in oil heat....ah, the memories.

Brian Miller said...

nice...you have the adventurous spirit and we used to do much the same...back in the day we would roam for miles...ours was the forest for miles...before the industrial park moved in...but we would literally go for probably up to 5 miles from home...love all the smells

Hannah Stephenson said...

The sheds become the mountains to us, don't they? I enjoyed this poem.

Ygraine said...

We had a coal shed too.
How I itched to climb in there and sculpt, but my overwhelming terror of spiders kept me firmly on the outside!
Not so my brother...it seemed he had ALL the fun:/

Dave, I am so in awe of your talent. The way you so effortlessly conjure up such vivid images of the sights, sounds and smells of your childhood - to say nothing of the emotions you felt then - leave me breathless.

Yes...you have a unique talent.
Thank you so much for sharing it with us :)

jabblog said...

The garden is a childhood empire. You have captured it well and brought back memories for me, too.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A high lyric force David, a marvellous poem about the past, going straight to the centre of my being.

Outlawyer said...

A great hiding place and the delight on hiding artfully described--even the language somehow brambly. K (Manicddaily at Wordpress on mobile device.$

Cait O'Connor said...

So descriptive of the childhood journey. Every poem you write is different, you have a unique talent.

Dave King said...

The Weaver of Grass
Thanks for this reflection. Good to have.

Elephant's Child
Thanks for your comments and the good wishes. Health is a little erratic at the moment - hence, alas, the postings etc are likely to be.

Yes, the other strong memory I have of the coal is of the man delivering it. Him and the sweep, I used to think they must be related!

You've reminded me of my long lost adventurous spirit... I wonder what happened to it...
I rteally got to adventuring when I got my first "proper" bike.

Each shed was different. Dad's work shed, for example, was a place of mystery and worship.

Strange. We do seem to have a lot in common. Very young, I, too, didn't like spiders - except in the coal shed. There, for some reason, I didn't mind them at all.

Thanks for the observation, so true: the garden occupies almost its own archive in my memory!

Very generous. Much gratitude for this comment.

What an unexpected and thrilling observation! Delightful to hear the language called brambly. Thank you so much!

Thank you Cait, a most generous remark, much appreciated.