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Poem of the Week - 'This City is a Garden' by Rebecca Tantony

This beautiful poem comes from Rebecca Tantony's new collection, Talk you round 'til dusk (Burning Eye), an entrancing mix of verse, prose poetry and short stories, illustrated by Anna Higgie. (In fact, we liked the illustrations so much that some of you may recognise the cover from our newsletter.)

It's a great read from cover to cover, but here's my personal favourite:


This City is a Garden

Sometimes, I'd want to leave behind
the way of the city;
go find silence by the edges of forests,
capture nature in my pockets,
etch its essence into poems.
Sometimes, I'd plant my feet on another type of ground,
bending down to gather seeds I'd later scatter across streets.
Remembering forget-me-nots might not grow next to the overflow of bins,
trying to let some light in through the dirt of it all.

But sometimes there comes a moment when you just need to let go
and see this city is a garden; come discover my heart growing here.
There was never any need to leave, find life outside it. 
We are a riverbed of roads,
streams of traffic leading us further into the unknown,

and I never wanted to be sure, you know. 

We are here now,
between the flats that grow en masse like weeds buzzing
with a thousand species inside,
and the derelict buildings
where silence and solitude hide behind a forest of shops,
we're getting lost between carrier bags and street signs. 

We are stood still now
in this landscape, fingers intertwined in the stomach of the city,
surrounded by wildflowers,
people who just grow where they're told.
Like the Colombian orchids who sip spiced rum in dimly lit bars
and the Iranian roses who gather where the English ones are,
on the corners where St. Paul's and Stokes Croft collide,
two types told they could never grow side by side, becoming one.
At night, Spanish tulips perform songs to Cornish daffodils,
heads bent back singing soulfully, sweet southern sounds,
and Egyptian lotuses curl open with sunrise,
all wide-eyed; new mornings, days dawning,
as the Syrian jasmine traces pictures on his back
of the outline of their home.

Sometimes, I'd want to leave behind
the way of the city;
go find silence by the edges of forests,
capture nature in my pockets,
etch its essence into poems.
But the breath of fresh air starts here,
at home.

We are rooted between the houses:
the beauty searched for found in the wrinkles of our two elderly neighbours,
their skin cyclical rings in oak trees,
and the growing we longed for seen in the decades 
they have held in one another's hearts,
and in the sweet smell 
of her perfume, all fake lilac and violets,
and him and his cigars.

There's peace in the sometimes when we leave it all behind and stay as we are.
There's peace in the sometimes when we see there's so much more to find,
just here, in this garden, where beauty's of a different kind. 



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