Grassroots in the Meadows
For Katherine Cameron
There’s so much surprising green in this city’s
grey stone heart, so douce, so mercantile.
I miss that four pointed arch at Jawbone Walk
beyond the cherry trees, all pink and lyrical
under a wide spring sky, enormous, shocking
in its frank commemoration of brutality,
Yet this is generous. There are paths here
for cyclists and joggers and grass for barbeques,
kids making out, students with their books,
but no-one selling anything but thought –
all this space and no ice-cream concession,
but campaign booths and vegan festivals
and summer camps for children, rainbow flags.
Radical starts here, with all the marches –
stop climate change, ban trident, the white
ribbon we wrapped round Edinburgh
to make poverty history. It’s the place for change,
beyond the university’s bounds. I saw
my first feminist badge here – the future is female –
pink on the coat of a mother at the swings.
But most radical of all, on that March day
before Thatcher, in the winter of discontent,
when snow fell, and lay, and froze, and people
skied down Princes Street, we put on hiking boots
and crossed The Meadows to the Simpson,
last day of two, the day when you were born.
The Meadows in Edinburgh seems to me to be characterised by radical generosity, and The Community Gardens on the Meadows really demonstrates this. It is one of my favourite community projects, and I am delighted to be taking part in their Environment Day on Saturday 20th August. I will be running a creative writing workshop from 12-1.30 (It includes time to eat a picnic, if you bring one.) It is based around close observation of the garden and responses to it. Later there will be Carbon Conversations with Jean Mathieu Gaunand, and the weather looks as if it will be dry, so please come!