Entry - Poetic Republic Poetry Prize 2014
The Garden of Eternal Spring
It’s a mystery, Dad,
how you turned your back on caution
and entered this Persian night garden,
ten foot by five foot six
from Bowman’s of Camden Town,
perhaps Mum led you by the hand.
Four golden rivers spilled
from an ornate pool and threaded
through dark fields of deep piled blue
watering persimmon and pomegranate
under whose branches strolled
exotic birds, fierce lions and the shy deer.
For 1001 nights, I sailed the indigo
with Sinbad or lost myself
with forty thieves among the weaving vines
and later, after Mum died
and your world shrivelled
to the size of a studio flat,
you kindly gave the rug to us
so our kids could creep
with terror through Grimms’ woods,
pit wits with the likes of Loki,
roar across the Trojan plain,
name the birds and the beasts,
canoe the amazon with Tintin,
wrestle or play car football,
cypress trees for corner flags.
Now it’s worn out and we’re moving house.
I phone you up, Dump it, you say,
there’s no place for sentiment.
But I’ll cut one square out for you,
a bird of paradise, a few inches
from a corner where there’s still a bit of spring.