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Out Of the Walled Garden



Walled Garden

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All of these poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies published between 2001 and 2011. Although I did produce an earlier, less inclusive edition of Out Of The Walled Garden a few years ago, this new edition includes all of my previously published pieces.

I've largely neglected these poems for the last decade. After the death of my late wife, Karen, in 2010, I lost the heart to continue working in this vein, but now, putting this collection together properly, I've finally found a little of that lost enthusiasm.

As I've worked through each piece, I've also put together some brief notes about the background or thoughts associated with the poem, and I think that this jogging of old memories is important.
Over time we lose sight of the people that we once were, traveling further from our source, leaving a trail that slowly becomes overgrown with the weeds of forgetfulness, and we should, I think, try to keep our paths clear so that we can, if we choose to, retrace a few of our steps.

Over the summer of 2021 I edited a memoir that my father wrote before memory loss took its toll on his abilities, and I wonder, perhaps, if that has made me feel a little nostalgic. If that is the case, then I'm glad of it. It's been good to reminisce and revisit old thoughts. Some of these thoughts and memories are, of course, painful, but in working on these poems I think that some of those sharper points have become a little duller.

It's actually been fun, and I'm all for that.



A few years ago, I adapted this piece as a short story. I’ve always had a soft spot for this poem. I think the inspiration is wrapped up in my imagined scenery from Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake being a genius of the very highest order.

With the sun at his back
he follows his shadow
across herringbone paviours
pitted by frost and chipped by ice,
worn smooth by boot heels.

Each brick was placed
by calloused hands,
butted against a neighbour,
crisp and clean, a geometrically
arranged enclosure.

The sun sweeps the sky,
a new broom, bright and bristling,
and stones weather and fade,
dull but not colourless
under brilliant blue brush strokes.

His eyes fix on a point of perspective,
above the patterns beneath his feet.
Each stone, individually set out,
imagined and roughly mapped,
is a monument to craft and guile.

The walker, focused, wrapped up
In the artificial fibres that form
end-of-year bottom line errands
and corporate reporting, walks on,
blissfully unaware of the plan beneath his feet,
laid down with hard skin, blisters and scars.

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