Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 13

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 13. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)

Stone Flowers

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All the poems I’ve included so far have come from something in the garden. This one is a little different because it was finding the poem that came first, this one by Kathleen Raine…

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A SPELL FOR CREATION

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Within the flower there lies a seed,
Within the seed there springs a tree,
Within the tree there spreads a wood.
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In the wood there burns a fire,
And in the fire there melts a stone,
Within the stone a ring of iron.
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Within the ring there lies an O,
Within the O there looks an eye,
In the eye there swims a sea,
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And in the sea reflected sky,
And in the sky there shines the sun,
Within the sun a bird of gold.
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Within the bird there beats a heart,
And from the heart there flows a song,
And in the song there sings a word.
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In the word there speaks a world,
A world of joy, a world of grief,
From joy and grief there springs my love.
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Oh love, my love, there springs a world,
And on the world there shines a sun,
And in the sun there burns a fire,
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Within the fire consumes my heart,
And in my heart there beats a bird,
And in the bird there wakes an eye,
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Within the eye, earth, sea and sky,
Earth, sky and sea within an O
Lie like the seed within the flower.

Lovely eh?

It was this poem that made me notice all the flowers around me in the middle of the city.

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Beautiful beautiful stone flowers on nearly every building! How could I not have noticed them before?

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And so I invite you today to look up and write about what you see that you’ve never noticed before before it disappears!

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Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 9

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 9. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)

MILLBANK GARDENS, JOHN ISLIP STREET

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This little public park sandwiches the Tate Britain with the Thames. I was walking round it thinking how it felt like a sanctuary for residents and nearby workers, each bench was occupied by individuals enjoying a break. This man, for example, works for a nearby pizza restaurant and says he comes here as often as he can for the peace.

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And the planting felt like a picture in itself…

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… appropriate with the Tate Britain so near, and the statue of Millais watching with interest.

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Interestingly, the area used to be the site of the old Millbank Prison, and if you walk along the riverbank you can see the memorial to where prisoners were shipped to Australia.

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And if you walk just one hundred metres from the park, you will find one of my favourite jewellery shops, @Work, which had an appropriate garden display in its windows!

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So my poem for Millbank Gardens is this lovely three-liner from David Ignatow, which seems to sum up the gardens for me, the feeling of peace and the underlying layer of the prison. As well of course as the Chelsea Fringe!

If Flowers Want to Grow

David Ignatow

If flowers want to grow

right out of concrete sidewalk cracks

I’m going to bend down to smell them.

And I invite you today to write about your favourite lunchtime sanctuary. Here’s one of the bench memorial plaques from Millbank Garden to give you some inspiration!

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