The ‘fruits’ of my first assignment in the Poetry School London course: ‘The God in the Forest’ – Nature Mysticism. I revised twice – once with tips from the poem’s readers, and once again using a checklist in a textbook. The ending survived both times.
BARDEZ (“Garden, park” Armenian)
Garden with the rosebush in the middle of the lawn, its hybrid roses fresh and pink as love.
Garden where you and grandmother coaxed mint and vine leaves under the London sun, where you dried mint on old tea towels.
Garden where you hooked spiced beef on the washing line for bastourma, darkly spiced with memories of home.
Garden where we launched soggy fireworks fizzing each November Fifth, and swished sizzling sparklers in the steely frost-smelling air. Where
Over the bamboo-weave fence, our neighbours handed fiery samosas for us to try, and we replied, with lamb koftas as tender as our good intentions.
And where much later, I helped you plant unsteady steps along the path to smell the jasmine after rain,
in the garden where you sat last summer, soaking up the sun you couldn’t see,
already on your way, the path cracked and mildewed, grass growing anyhow,