If my fortunes should one day fade, And experience dull the sharp edge of fame, And popularity precipitate out of its false solution To rub salt into the wounds of life’s insults – When the rest of the world is still waiting to win this game, Just give me an orchard of my very own, With trees I can call by name.
A living database of the ones who stayed, The ones I helped raise, Even the ones who got away: Each one a monument to the moment we gave ourselves the permission to grow.
I work a peculiar landscape – Digging so deep that my hands scrape On the buried tokens of past failures; Knuckles broken from picking fights With the subterranean brigadiers Of a stubborn underground faction: They play by the rules and spar without passion.
But I’ll wear the dirt under my nails like it’s going out of fashion – The secret sign that I belong to that horticultural platoon Who never nip the buds before they’re allowed to bloom, Nor let the worm of doubt feed from within.
We plant beginnings next to old goodbyes To give the ground back its life, And mound soil around the seeds of desire To let them grow. With dexterous optimism, We graft new dreams onto old stock To give us fruit for the next year, And craft the gnarled roots of fear Into the answer: “Yes – let’s give it a go.”
What if this is the password To unencrypt the script Of everything we wish we’d said, But didn’t think was necessary.
What if it had been?
Because sometimes I feel like a criminal accessory, Standing in the footprints of my harshest critic, Feeling the monolithic paralysis of inarticulacy; Walking hand-in-hand through the depths of a liminal territory, In the middle of a rudderless search, Wanting to say ‘jump, Jack’ but falling back Into old patterns tilled through the rough earth.
But I want to propagate something here, this time – Because there’s grounds for it.
And so that one day, In my orchard, I can turn to you and say:
Hey. I’m sorry I haven’t tidied the debris away, But you must have had the BEST view up there of the storm last night – That lightning was electric, baby! And did you know, In the height of sunny summer days, You’re the one I come to for shade? If I lean on you, you fit me like a cast – A role you were born to play, ey? And remember the time we were afraid? Remember when the foresters came to cut you down, And I chained myself to a belief: That you wouldn’t make like a tree… And leave.
You didn’t, and I won’t either.
I’ll visit you again, Tomorrow, And every day.
© Georgina Barley 2016