The sunken garden
This garden is twice hidden.
Encircled by rhododendrons and camellias,
its paths are coffin deep below the main lawn.
We have left the big house, and walked across newly mown grass
to find a subtle path meandering through tangled larch and birch.
Their fractured fingers point urgently, reaching for the unseen light.
We ignore their imploring, preferring to move on amongst damp ferns, moss and decay
to find our secret place where we can no longer smell the greeness of the distant lawn
and our tongues can taste the moistness of the shadows.
There is no bird song here.
No summer sun falls on the grey sandstone flags under our feet.
We sit on an oak bench in the arbour.
It bends softly under our weight, its slats rough and weathered,
bruising your skin as you crumble the wood between finger and thumb.
A lonely carp floats on the surface of a pool, horizontal, its mouth open and eyes wide but dull.
I look into the dark browns and greens of the ferns - even they are not blameless.
Shadows shelter conspiracies as each leaf takes sides in our arguments.
Here too our thoughts are twice hidden,
once within ourselves and once buried in the rough brown soil.