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Green Words Poetry Anthology: The Bishop’s Palace Garden

Discover poems written by members of the local community inspired by the Bishop’s Palace Garden. These poems are part of the Green Words Poetry Anthology curated by Riddler in Residence Aly Stoneman. 

The Bishop’s Magpie by Rod Stacy-Marks

Monochrome magpie, perched high in that tree,

dressed like a nun, are you spying on me?
As I walk through the garden you’re lurking up there,
beady black eyes looking down on me here.

You’re cackling and bobbing your head up and down.
What’s so amusing, you black and white clown?
Are you laughing at me as I examine these trees?
Be an angel, fly off, leave me in peace!

I see a tree with a tempting ripe apple.
You swoop down to the roof of the chapel.
I reach for the fruit, stretching out my right arm,
you start squawking like a burglar alarm.

Are you truly more saintly than me?
Just turn a blind eye to my thievery.
Mischievous, mythical, magical brute,
stop screeching, come here and share this fruit.

Note from the poet: This poem came about following an encounter with a magpie that appeared to be acting as some sort of security guard for the Bishop’s garden.

Sarah B - tree lady web

The Bishop’s Garden by Sarah Bartrum

Pink and white confetti
Litters the ground beneath a tree,
Cyclamen marking that long ago wedding.
A drunken bumble bee sways on a sprig of red flowers,
Long rangy spines topped with purple hats wave a farewell.
Lilac discs, dropped with yellow paint, look on,
Gaping holes in leaves bely the feast that was,
Crows curse from boughs in the beech.
She is here, still,
will always be,
past the dripping bean pods
and the three silent figures
that wait eternally for her alms.
She, trapped within the horse chestnut,
Encased in the trunk, her forever home.

Note from the poet: This poem was inspired by plants and sculptures in the Bishop’s garden.
Print by Sarah Bartrum. 

Our Time by Rebekah Horton

Our loving memory,
gradually escapes with time.
Clinging on for its treasured moments,
striking light slices through the shadows.

The shining rays warm the mellow bees
drunk on the sweet beauty of their food source.
The colourful petals
thrive in deep comfort,
knowing their time is respected.

Observing the ever-changing winds
which encourage the weary leaves to dance,
unknowingly disturbing the elderly leaves
pushing them to accept their time to rest.

The ageing tree roots
prepare for another deep sleep.
Stubborn peers refuse to let go
as cold fear settles into winter.

Their silent pearl droplets slowly absorb,
while gentle tree roots soothe the soil,
watch the remarkable sunset with reassurance.

Reflections On A Hidden Garden by Si Egan

Birdsong in the trees
Counterpoint, call and response.
Runways on the badly shaved lawn
Hovered over by ghost-wasp-helicopters
Grey muted skies muffle the sounds
Of the city traffic.
Children’s voices; the chimes of innocence beyond the walls.

Wild poetry is hemmed in
By word-bed boundaries,
Superfluous punctuation mown away.
Metaphors bloom at the base of the tree
Unseeing eyes stare out from the bark.
Boundaries restrict yet protect
Creativity cannot be grown
Where the feet of the inner critic trample.