Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 4

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 4. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)



Now I will admit I thought twice about including Cavendish Square because apart from being a green spot behind Oxford Street, I – sorry – can’t find much to get inspired by it.



…. then as I was walking past the statue in the middle, something didn’t seem quite right. So I looked harder.


It’s made of soap! I love it. Not just ordinary soap either, but apparently Lush’s ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ range.

It’s the work of a Korean artist, Meekyoung Shin, and it’s a representation of the Duke of Cumberland whose original statue in the square was put up in 1770, and removed in disgrace by in 1868 after his persecution of the Scottish Highlanders.

The soapy Duke will only be there until July, and then what, I wonder? Amazing actually it hasn’t disintegrated more given all the rain we’ve been having.


But in honour of the statue, and soap, and hmmm… this isn’t such a good segue as I’d hoped but anyway, here’s May Sarton‘s beautiful poem An Observation:

An Observation

May Sarton

True gardeners cannot bear a glove

Between the sure touch and the tender root,

Must let their hands grow knotted as they move

With a rough sensitivity about

Under the earth, between the rock and shoot,

Never to bruise or wound the hidden fruit.

And so I watched my mother’s hands grow scarred,

She who could heal the wounded plant or friend

With the same vulnerable yet rigorous love;

I minded once to see her beauty gnarled,

But now her truth is given me to live,

As I learn for myself we must be hard

To move among the tender with an open hand,

And to stay sensitive up to the end

Pay with some toughness for a gentle world.

And the writing prompt for you today is … Gardener’s hands!