The Sky High Garden
A dream-filled narrowboat roof garden
In my course Dream Into Spring, I lead my students toward the creation of a dream. That dream turns into a project, something tangible they can hang onto so as not to forget the time spent birthing their idea. My dream this spring is to create a garden space on the roof of my narrowboat and this poem is my finished piece of work—a way to imprint my dream on my mind, so I don’t forget what I am aiming for. I hope you enjoy!
The narrowboat came towards me like a dream.
I stood, stock still, awash with tenderness.
The trailing green, like tendrils of hair
On some long-forgotten princess.
All noise stopped; for a moment
Only the rhythmic “pop pop” of the engine
Ticking away like inner content.
She stood at the tiller,
Barefoot and open-hearted
Hair pushed into a scarf
Flickers of grey like silver, darting
Towards the sun.
I raised my hand in greeting
As I watched the fluffy Southernwood
The flowering Rosemary
And delicate Marjoram
Float on by.
A garden, sky-high;
Of plants and dreams.
The scent of cooling mint
Wild as if in a faraway field
Curled its way into my nostrils;
Into my heart.
As we came level I saw her eyes,
Reflecting green like the canal.
“Your rooftop garden is majestic!”
I called. And she smiled. Softly.
‘She knows,’ I thought.
“To live without life beneath our fingertips is to live a life without dreams!” She winked as she shouted, grabbing the spliced rope between her sun-roughened hands and leaping from deck to towpath.
The early spring grass—still soft underfoot—spread beneath her toughened soles; her knowing soul.
As I watched her work through the lock—late afternoon light encasing the image in a golden hue, budding hawthorns on either side, violets and primroses poking through and her boat, festooned with burgeoning green—I imprinted the scene,
Of a sky-high garden of dreams.