Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Beginnings and Happy Endings

I've been trying to post this image since the 18th of December when my computer fainted. Things are still dodgy in the I.T. Department.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Taking Time at Inverewe

Scotland has always been compelling to me. The other day I found 'Oasis of the North,' by Dawn MacLeod ( Hutchinson, London, 1958 ), which made me stop and go back to a pace slower than I have to go at now.

The author left a career as a successful Civil Servant in London to follow her heart, take a plunge and accept an offer by her adopted aunt, Mairi Sawyer, to help at Inverewe, the famous 50-acre garden established by her father, Osgood MacKenzie.
The writing is self-effacing, observant. Dawn MacLeod was a newcomer, and obviously prepared to pull up her sleeves. From page 66, I quote:
"I opened the gate and locked it again behind the car, and as we rounded a bend a little low house came into view - perched on a green bank with wooded braes at the back of it, and a stream rushing past a few feet from the front porch. Glimpses of rugged hill appeared at the top of the glen, and down to our left Loch Kernsary reflected the sky. Some blackface sheep nibbled peacefully along the grassy banks of the burn, and a field of oats stood up, tall but yet unripe, inside a high deer-fence."
I am enthralled, not only to enter a slower and more orderly age, with an authenticity and naturalness that have been vanishing, but to read a book whose pace is unstrained, from an open mind.
No-one writes like this any more.
Inverewe, begun in 1862, now belongs to the National Trust for Scotland, having been gifted to it by Mairi Sawyer in the 1950s. I'm pleased to read that it contains many plants from the southern hemisphere, including eucalypts.
I can well understand how someone would chuck in their day job to be there, without knowing, exactly how things would turn out. Dawn MacLeod showed particular courage and faith in her inner feeling.
With grateful thanks to Hutchinson, to the author, and to the artist, William McLaren.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


It's difficult, having any number of interests, to focus on one, on and on. Gardening to me is a mainstay, in that it keeps me sane - as much as it may be construed as a form of insanity.
I don't understand the current insistence we have to allocate ourselves a singular identity, without reference to the subtleties and unknowns we all have within us. Life is so much broader.
Gardening, you will have come to see, is only part of what I do. I dislike being stigmatised with any one identity.
I am not sure if I'm a poet - only because, to me, it's a blessing that can be conferred only after some significant achievement. I have not managed that, preferring to be unrecognised than to be known for what I'm not. Achievement itself is utterly useless unless it has really been of benefit beyond any immediate acclaim.


He sweeps the floor
with hands over-used.
Days later,
he opens the door,
expecting no-one there,

no-one bold enough
to tread with certainty -

and is unstunned
to see there nothing.

And so, without a plan,
but only footsteps resolute,
he leaves the floors
he's swept
and all their endlessness.

Whereon, on his way,
he meets another wandering,

who, wandering, had never given up,
but had nowhere else to go.

Faisal Grant, 10/12/2011.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Not gardening, writing


Even starting to speak
takes air enough
to displace a planet.

It's impossible to begin
to find a word
commensurate with your question.
If I could ban it -

There is, though, a leak
of words. It's tough
to stand here, hearing

my attempt, a sin
if ever I heard
one. I am not a bastion,
but a channel, unfearing.

Faisal Grant, 09/12/2011.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Were I to awaken in a world beyond this one, without reference to all I've known, I'd hope to be fearless.
It might be perceived as a flight into another, or a renewed, state...
amongst an assembly of other entities, my former self dissembled.
I would have vanished then into a landscape where my liminality would experience new qualities.
Alert to other imperatives, the "I" I'd then be would have a new commision, and new exercise.
Never homeless, forever belonging in a universe so vast I would never locate any boundaries...
witness to an everlasting truth, with an evolution unending.