A Garden of England

A Garden of England without its gardeners.

Fruit grows feral in the hedgerow,

where did the people go?

(World wars took some, the gold-paved cities others.)

The London train, late summer, carries few hop-pickers;

There’s not a seat for them, amongst commuters,

Sky-high poles laid low.

The coppice is still, it’s seen the woodman’s axe retire,

Extinguished the charcoal kilns soft glow,

Where did the butterflies go?

(Say their names; fritillary, emperor, admiral, gatekeeper)

In the meadow, late summer, a few browns flutter;

A marbled white and up on high, skylark stutter,

Hay-grass cut low.

But there are gardens here –

Gardens within a garden

Where roses forbid the heart to harden,

And tradition is held close and dear.

Where bees hum in a warm brick wall

And remind us: we haven’t lost it all.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden on the East Sussex/Kent border, 1st July

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