Poetry...makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you now that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.

Dylan Thomas

Poetry has always been able to articulate a thought or feeling of mine that I have found difficult to vocalise myself. It has often evoked that ‘me too’ feeling, when I thought I was alone. Poetry speaks to our inner life and draws it out. It moves us and heals us. It creates community- between writer and reader, bringing the past into the present time.

This month we opened our poetry garden to the community- quite a few of the poems are written by the local community themselves! Some by staff members too (see if you can spot them when you visit). This poem featured above was written by Geraldine Harwood, who is one of our garden volunteers. She has been volunteering with us for a long time. It was burned into the wood by another garden volunteer, Alison Spedding, and her husband Keith Spedding. They were all written in response to some pictures we shared of the garden: bright scarlet tomatoes, fuchsia-coloured geraniums, a solitary apple tree. We printed off the poetry we were sent, laminated them and have displayed them in various locations around the garden (hanging from an obliging branch, or a fence, shrub or gate).

We are fortunate to have an orchard, sensory garden, polytunnels, a willow dome, a mini stonehenge (!), raised beds, beehives in 5 acres of land. We hope that people that visit the garden will explore all these spaces, taking time to move between the poems. We invite you to sit with the words you read in the garden, reflecting on them, meditating on them, spending some quiet time alone.

It is often difficult to make time to be still these days, to process our thoughts and feelings, to gather all of them up in one place. Life rushes at us, beckons us to move quickly, hurries us on to the next thing. But sometimes we need to pause. We need to quieten those voices and sit with those feelings. This might be uncomfortable, challenging, but giving yourself this space can also be life-giving too. It can help us make better, more considered choices, help us see what and who is important in our lives.