Up from the valley
wedges of green part the scribbled wild
Steep, the smell of mycelia in the mould
and heart pumping silence
Until monstrous diesel churning punctuates the Penny Pot pencil coppice
Wise old oaks preside and lanky adolescents lumber
From forest edges to hedges to verges rustling with chattering chaperones
Black caps coal heads
Chains winding metallic engines
The invisible road
worn smooth by tyres
Where grass grows between the treads
Joy likes and not or Eat to eat for all Nettle field green Spider webbed monkey puzzle A perfect lawn with brick battlements, five courses high Cordons of stout applewood beside artificial green netting Two cars placed carelessly and a purposeful man with a frosted plastic bag of leeks stuck with pale clay soil.
The surface of the earth is dazzling this morning, like a layer of liquid life. Clinging, hanging, equally repelled and attracted. Anode to cathode of the intangible sky Pierced by a stellar stigmata bleeding light colour cold heat.
Three deep dark bream flex slowly in the half clear stream below this white welded footbridge.
Life makes no sense, then it does.
A few flakes fall in puddles lined with grasping ice. The suggestive horizon is sown with white as train carriage F is pushed and pulled past slateless steam sheds.
The verge is loaded with lightness as gorse bows in reverence, fern fans flatten in curtsey unmoved by the wind tunnel snow dust steel on cold steel.
River worn gullies, stooping saplings, broken branches.
Hazy birch tops huddle in rare beef steak smoky slabs of colour slicing through the greenest stone green of wedged conifers pierced by painted leafless larch spires of burnt sienna.
Meringue souffles top mumped grassy meadows. Apricot cast on white, rising above tree tracery. The solid forest stands with arms outstretched for enlightenment, knowledge on darkness. Half grace, half density.
A grubby palette of ochre and white reaches for the cleansing of the sky. This may be the closest that we can get to purity, the surface of the moon but for the clarity of reason. The brightest blue.
Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into it’s happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight it’s own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.
This poem inspired the title of Sir Steven Tallents’ publication Green Thoughts. The book documents some of his time living at St John’s Jerusalem which he passed to the National Trust in the 1950’s. In my role as head gardener at St John’s, I feel that it is permissible for me to take that title for this journal of documentation, meditation and reflection.