Green Riff I
Walled gardens started in Persia. The Persian walled garden kept the desert dust out.
In a walled garden everything extraneous is excluded and so the mind focuses
inwards. This garden is very exposed. It is walled by sound, skeins of sound, threaded
sounds, the thrum of traffic, half-formed conversations, the set-speeches of bells. It is walled
by sights, polygons, diagonals, steel and glass, the play of light; the living, breathing
city, its ebb and flow, its flux, the ghost-imprint of those here now and all those
who’ve moved through it. Everything extraneous: these are its walls. A walled
garden, then, of the mind. I want to write about the essence of this place, this blown-
open, unrestored, sibling of St Paul’s. It’s not a shattered space, it is whole, because it
has grown organically; it’s at one with the living, rising, green, the growing church
with its pews of iris and agapanthus, pillars of clematis and rose. You can feel at home
in exposed spaces. What is home, what is haven and harbour? Green is home, green is
haven and harbour.