Into the Walled Garden contains ten years worth of prize winning poetry...ten years worth of work both published and unpublished, collected together for the very first time (warts and all).
The prize winning poem Into the Walled Garden first appeared in an anthology called Dress of Nettles, published by Ragged Raven Press.
Writing in Cold Mountain Review in 2005, J D Ballam wrote:
......If there is a single theme dominating the book, and it is certainly not ever-present, then it is of one of reminiscence.
...there is...almost always a sense of pleasure in the telling of a tale...however painful the recollection of the circumstances contained in that tale may be.
...it is a situation frequently repeated in Dress of Nettles, yet its unending diversity, its self-generating pace, keep it from ever becoming cloying or repetitive. Compare, for instance, the sensitivity of Clive Gilson's evocative Into the Walled Garden, which explores the loneliness of old age through the endless tasks of a gardener (with) Pat Earnshaw's poignant reworking of childhood's limited understanding of pride and frustrated dreams in In My Next Life I'll Have a Big House and Dogs and Music.
The pieces in this anthology are written very much on a human scale, with values and attainments shared in appreciation of the wider community.
Flip-flops smack hard baked sand,
a rhythmic chattering beneath the soft glide
of cheap silk sarongs and ludicrously loud
beach shirts. Cracked earth and spare weeds
line a path that passes bare tables
in the yawning shadows of a Nepalese restaurant.
Arif swings out of the shade and waits
in the sun on a corner. He squats, smiling,
in the company of mangy mongrels,
lounging the day away, waiting,
for half finished meals and overflowing bins at dusk.
In the down draught of beer guts and sweat
Arif‟s limbs jut and break at right angles.
He crawls on one bent leg, propelled
forwards by one smashed and twisted arm.
His left hand bends impossibly backwards.
His right arm, his good arm is raised,
palm upwards and creased with dirt.
Flint brown eyes glint as he smiles
under the spindle bower, with dogs
scratching their arses and the sores
behind their ears. Arif waits, counting
the slap of fat foot falls, preparing his smile.
Seeing colours emerge from the heat haze,
Arif shuffles out onto the path, beams,
and knowing the many colours of money,
declares his eternal love for Manchester United.
Bantry, With An Umbrella
On the way down we stopped on a beach,
bordered by tufts of marram that clung to our boots
like dead men‟s hands crawling across the empty spaces
littered with bottle tops and shivering plastic bags,
where black headed gulls skirled below the black rocks
that rose to the headland. We kicked over the tracing
seaweed, skimming pebbles on rolling curls of white
and gray, and lifted sand in the tread of our boots,
as the wind whipped in between buttons on our coats.
After lunch in a timbered pub, Guinness smoothed,
warmed after the rain, jackets dripping puddles
of rainwater onto stripped and stained boards
in a place where suits ate lasagne and mussels
and skies loomed, as oiled as the seal heads
out in the bay, we sat and made jokes about weather,
whiling away a few minutes with impossible clues
in a cryptic crossword maze, our straying hands
making the best of drying hair in a firelight glow.
Headlights on, mid afternoon, passing zipped up cars,
driving down a track of mud and shingle, passed gates
that led to half built bungalows squatting below branches
that scattered water and autumn leaves to the wind,
where half-hearted dogs barked sadly from under the shadow
of rain swollen eaves, we drifted sideways at a bend by a path
We found a spur, a break in the overhang, parked and sat
beneath glass, alone with a curl surf tide that wrapped its weight
around an island whose head bobbed for air in the clouds.
Walking up from the beach, pulled inside out by the sharp
Atlantic squall, a wee man emerged from between tufts
of sodden gorse. Ambling up with a smile and a question
or two, he explained about surveying and places to stay
with a Jamesons for warmth. Manoeuvring a green Mercedes
out from behind wind bent trees, he disappeared, red lights
merging with the dusk and rain, still smiling at the thought
of talking away the late afternoon minutes with impatient lovers,
lovers too polite to be rude in the mists of Bantry Bay.
Inside the gray upholstered world of a Fiat,
while the skies poured out their hearts to the tip of our hats,
with you astride my lap, jeans wrapped around your ankles,
your mouth buried into my neck in soft, warm sighs,
the shape of the handbrake imprinting on your left knee,
I felt your warmth thrill through me in deep kisses,
The mists sloped in on the island, lights and sounds faded
beneath the rising night at the end of a simple, waterlogged day,
when we made love in a Fiat on the edge of Bantry Bay.