The Franciscan Gardens, Canterbury

It’s always surprising to me to find these ‘hidden’ gardens right in the middle of the city, and the gardens behind Franciscan Friary off the High Street, and behind these gates is just one such gem…

To be honest, when I visited – last February – there wasn’t much to see (certainly compared with when I got to visit during October’s festival), but this is what gave me the inspiration for the eventual poem. The garden felt paired back to what really mattered. This feeling was brought out by the paths…

… and how closely allied the garden and the river were…

… not just as a source for easy watering…

… but for contemplation too. The second photograph here is a close up of the plaque on a bench looking over the river. I love the idea of ‘Brothers Rest’…

Here’s my poem for the garden:


Like the pilgrim divests himself of worldly goods,
the garden’s stripped back to a skeleton,

trees keeping blossom close, buds aching,
and it’s still the cutting back that matters most,

only the vertebrae of paths hold a true form
while through it all the river’s artery rolls,

a trust in what lies beneath, snowdrops
rising like lanterns to light the way.

And do play this video to come and walk with me round the gardens…

One thought on “The Franciscan Gardens, Canterbury

  1. Pingback: Greyfriars Garden and Chapel, Canterbury | Writer In The Garden

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