Poem: This Earth is a Garden, inspired by a QVA working retreat in Swarthmoor Hall

Poem: This Earth is a Garden, inspired by a QVA working retreat in Swarthmoor Hall

Anneke Kraakman

Two people with spades digging and smiling at the camera

Quaker Voluntary Action Gardening Retreat , October 2018, Swarthmoor Hall

About 10 people, not all of whom liked gardening, came together – why had they come?

The Cool of the Day

Do you like my garden so free?

Through the gate we worked, in the cool of the day, weeding, composting

Finished the task in one day

We walk in the labyrinth,

in the orchard,

in the quiet garden.

We walk

Could you live in this garden?

You may live in this garden if you keep the waters clean.

Damsons , apples and pears

You like barrowing the compost to the side of the burn?

Prune the climbers along the wall of the Hall?

I like forking the nettles and the docks with two friends

Around the apple trees we are a team

We do the same the next day.

We like Chi Kung every morning

Worship in the Hall every morning

Reflection every evening

We cooked and cleaned, saw the sea and listened.

Why had we come?

What is the Journey of Gardening good for?

To work with others, get through a crisis, be part of something

To feel one’s body work, to think, to see the birds in the sky

To honour the history of this land

To work in silence, to prove it can be done pure and free … to be free.

My motivation – but the others?

Anneke Kraakman, inspired by the song Now is the Cool of the Day”, performed by Coope, Boyes and Simpson