I feel very fortunate that I can participate in the Gardens Poets-in-Residence scheme this year, run by the London Parks & Gardens Trust and The Poetry School. My residency is in the beautiful St Dunstan-in-the-East garden, situated in the very centre of London, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The garden is beautifully melancholic, with a rich history and green open space.
I have always dreamt of being a florist and this residency has brought me closer to that dream.
Poets and florists talk with silent beauties, colours and scents. They both evoke sentiments. Poets assemble thoughts and arrange them into verses, wrap them in metaphors. Florists arrange bunches to enable others to express love, happiness, sympathy, gratitude.
I love wild flowers but because I have been living in a city for a long time, I learnt to love flower shops. They bring a bit of nature to the urban world. Although there are some differences: wild flowers don’t have to perform, they don’t have to look their best to be perceived of value. Cut flowers, on the other hand, cannot ‘just be’. Each stem and each petal carries a price tag. Each flower was brought to the city to serve a purpose and fulfil a goal. City gardens remind me of this urban-natural boundary.
Being a poet-in-residence in a city garden brings to fore many invisible borders. It awakens a cutting back into one’s own origins and migrations. Maybe that's why the scheme is called #remixedborders.