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Note: writer at work

Many books use quotations at the heads of their chapters and, frankly, I don’t always find the dollops of Shakespeare or Milton, Jekyll or Sackville-West very inspiring. But in The Living Garden by Jane Powers (full review in a week or two), there are some unusually thoughtful and apposite choices.

They may lose a little of their power, detached from the chapters they introduce, but here’s a few examples anyway:

“Earth knows no desolation. She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.”
George Meredith.

“Out of the soil the buds come,
The silent detonations
Of power wielded without sin.”
R. S. Thomas

“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”
Henry David Thoreau

“A good Garden may have some weeds.”
Thomas Fuller

“Time is what prevents everything happening at once.”
John Archibald Wheeler

Bodes well for the book as a whole, doesn't it.

Read more about The Living Garden by Jane Powers


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I love that R S Thomas poem. 'The Garden', I think it's called. My English teacher at school was a huge R S Thomas fan and bored us all witless with his poetry. I think it was at least 20 years later that I suddenly saw why she liked him so much.

Graham Rice

Didn't do RS Thomas at school, Victoria, but did Yeats and JM Synge (which was unusual for 1968). It set me off on a life loving Irish literature.


I had never heard of RS Thomas. Such an elegant poem - thanks for sharing!

Fiona Gilsenan

I especially like the last one. But as it does seem everything happens at once in the garden...or not at all.

Yes, I am waiting for the peas to hurry up and grow!

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