Recipe for a Towpath Garden

by Nancy Campbell

for SAFE Regeneration, Bootle

Lift the old canoe from the canal, set down its keel
on the dry grass. Fill it with soil and broken tiles
heavy enough to thwart its restive spirit.

Plant it bow to stern with medicinals: 
a small lemon tree grown from a pip,
lollipop verbena, lavender, juniper

and hops to train up the rusty barrier.
Press down the roots, give them water.
Next summer bees will pollinate the flowers

and you’ll dry the petals, pick the fruits,
then distil drinks from them so strong
they’ll bring the wildest dreams of freedom.