This Garden

J.S. Watts

In this garden which has grown
buttercups, pigs, time
and generations of stories,
some have rooted longer than others
whether by heredity, history or chance,
fresh memories binding them to the past,
strong, deep, entangling.

The garden yields variety in abundance.
Short roots can stretch out
in its old, rich soil,
flourishing alongside those
who have made this garden a lifetime.
We all yearn to put down roots,
cultivate a sense of belonging.

The soil here has been evolving for centuries,
tilled, dug, moated and villaged
by both past and present - wing-beat of crow,
flash of aero wing and slow burn of coprolite
maturing in the dark. Even those
transplanted, whether in or out,
know the good grip of this place.

Dig down into the thickly layered earth
we have walked and will walk upon,
you’ll find buried crops of bottles, stone jugs,
mosaic, soot and taxi parts, pig bones and “fossil dung”,
stories we told ourselves then left behind,
even as we’ll leave the imprint of our roots
when we move on – this garden makes good roots.

This poem was commissioned for the 2013 inaugural Bassingbourn-cum-Kneeswoth at Home day and was published in the events programme and subsequently in the 2016 poetry collection, Years Ago You Coloured Me.

Check out some other poems about Cambridgeshire.

Main Location:

Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth, South Cambridgeshire, England

The village of Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth in Cambridgeshire