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My Garden of Poetry

A preview of our film

This autumn we met an extraordinary man whose passion for words and trees combined into something truly wonderful at Westonbirt Arboretum. We just had to make a film about it, which you can enjoy tonight or on iPlayer for the next 30 days. 

Marchant Barron was born with severe cerebral palsy and cannot speak, however he is able to communicate by pointing to a printed qwerty keyboard with help from his dedicated team of carers. We invited him to write something for the website, which we can exclusively share with you today.

To read more about Marchant, you can check out his website.

For me, autumn is sitting with my father under trees. We both have no words but, here in his garden, the trees are witness to our silence. In this grove, we both watch the story of autumn unfold in each leaf. 

One of our favourite trees is the katsura with its apricot, heart-shaped leaves. On bright October mornings its burnt sugar aroma awakens us; a contrast to the smell of damp earth and rotting leaves. This sweet scent binds us in a memory, held in every katsura tree I see.                        

My father’s age is autumn – he has seen many years. He shows me the leathery, fan-shaped leaf of the gingko (also known as “Autumn Gold”). This simple leaf is almost primitive; this is hardly surprising as the gingko tree is the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees that predate the dinosaurs and is known as “a living fossil”.

I love old trees: their wisdom worn in knots and gnarls. They are ever-changing yet when they stand bare, it is as if they know the world will never end. 

Autumn is the hibernation of the trees and, for me, a time of reflection. As leaves drop, more is revealed. In my father’s garden, there is a grove of memories. Each memory holds a feeling and feelings are the seeds to grow my poetry.


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