TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT GREEN
What, so close to the thickening heart-knot of the country's motorways, could be the meaning of this garden – the meaning of green?
Is a lawn an exercise – yes, and a groundsman's labour – in concentrating all our minds on that: clipped, kept, to concentrate its colour: green?
What is it we feel, even if it isn't our own memory, is being remembered by this gathered meeting of a hundred greens?
How far back do we have to peel the history before the water, the brook in the wood, would recognise it 'own face before it was born'?
And if it did, would it have anything to say to us any more, or be off, in itself, and away?
Does it mind, this water, that we have detained it here, delayed it on its way, to call it 'lake'?
And the dragonfly's glint, metallic before we had metal, or the damselfly's, neon before neon, whose dream is that: ours, the water's or their own?
Don't they fly lighter not weighed down with memories – of the grand Meganeura, say, of the Carboniferous, not yet come down to our time's jewelled toys?
But when did the concept of lawn first step out of the trees, onto the stage of itself, and take a bow?
Something might safely graze, it whispers to our Sunday School selves – ah, but what, or who?
How much closer might I get to that, what as kids we called Dinosaur Rhubarb, if I knew its proper name?
Or if I knew that name – which it, itself, does not – how much further apart might we be?
What shuffling and dealing took place round the edges of their habits, so many species, before their ornamental rooming-house became a home?
And if we should turn our back on them for a year, for ten, for a hundred, what would the meaning of green be then?
How much more of the brown, the greyish, the mould-blue, the lichen-yellow, does there truly want to be?
Isn't green itself a strenuous gesture, all that striving for the sunlight, just another kind of hungering?
If we ask every species here to name itself to us, just once, in the language in which anyone or thing first named them, do we have ears to hear?
Could we bear it, that awful laying-down of language, uncountable as leaves themselves, as dying, at our feet?
What might we be asked to lay at their feet, roots and tendrils, in return?
And when we did, when we stepped out, over it, into the silence, into green, together, then what would we be?