Mar 29, 2022 • 3M

The Sky High Garden

A dream-filled narrowboat roof garden

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Here I share recordings of my weekly writings for those who like to give their eyes a rest from the screen. They might be personal reflections, short stories, poetry, published articles. I look forward to connection and conversation.
Episode details

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.

Thank you for reading Alice Griffin. This post is public so feel free to share it.