This poem was published in The Poetry Review, winter issue, 2017.

Gardens where there’s no need for a garden

by Penelope Shuttle

For me, it begins with a grandfather consciousness of Russia
and a difficulty of surnames,
smiles in a local kitchen from my alien gold neighbours
and the gladness of their horses

For me, it begins in the dark regions
of vodka and childhood
where the staircase birds share the flight of the child
and a windowsill mother counts
a thousand years
on her exact tongue of black-blood grief

Or it begins, for me, with a master-sleep
with the dog who understands the breast that wears black,
and the hour when a strange
but better than usual guest
comes to call

For me it begins when I step aside
from my own concerns and the dead look at me,
quiet as thimbles,
they look at me from the hushing handheld sky,
its subdued palaces,
the doors all blue and in the wrong places

For me, it begins there

Read Penelope Shuttle’s ‘Behind the poem’ article on ‘Gardens where there’s no need for a garden’

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

Join us at the Poetry Cafe on Feb 28th to talk about the connections between poetry and the built environment with architect poets / poet architects Emily Hasler, Fawzia Kane, Colin Davies and Alexander Allen. Book here: poetrysociety.org.uk/event/bricks-m…

test Twitter Media - Join us at the Poetry Cafe on Feb 28th to talk about the connections between poetry and the built environment with architect poets / poet architects Emily Hasler, Fawzia Kane, Colin Davies and Alexander Allen. Book here: https://t.co/dvgrkQa8Er https://t.co/vx4PYpadM1

Don't forget to enter our Nearlyology challenge on nearly-experiences and nearly-lives: bit.ly/nearlychallenge closing March Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Beautiful blue skies in #London today for filming on #RegentsCanal - watch out for #PierreTremblay and I as we pedal the towpath from #Paddington to #Limehouse @CanalPoetry @CanalRiverTrust Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Still not got that application in? Don't worry, you've got until the 25th February to tell us why you should be a part of the next generation of poetry producers. For more information and details how to apply please click the link below: ow.ly/vmaM30irUn5 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

The Times Saturday Quiz, 17th February 2018: Which English poet did Philip Larkin describe as “looking like a Christmas present from Easter Island”? Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Don't miss our conversation with @AndrewPoetry, which includes an excerpt from the first poem he ever published (spoiler, aliens are involved) bit.ly/andrewinterview Retweeted by The Poetry Society

"I feel like the disaster has already happened, and this is the aftermath of a set of circumstances that will just reproduce this suffering, this grief." Listen to Imani Robinson in conversation with @JTaylorTrash, @Anthony1983, @Danez_Smif and @Brrnrrd: soundcloud.com/poetrysociety/…

#FoyleYoungPoets judge Sinéad Morrissey is on the London underground with 'Grasmere Journal, 1801': order your free set now poetrysociety.org.uk/product/poems-…

test Twitter Media - #FoyleYoungPoets judge Sinéad Morrissey is on the London underground with 'Grasmere Journal, 1801': order your free set now https://t.co/1L9vaGuK0w https://t.co/HERZcD7U3L

With my goldfish brain, I’d forgotten that this was being repeated yesterday. Anyhow, it’s on the iPlayer if you’re interested. twitter.com/brian_bilston/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society