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17 The Garden

hexagram-17-garden‘TAME YOUR OWN lion with a rose-bramble whip. Its dung will frighten off deer
from your flowerbeds; embolden your sweet peas.’

In the library of good earth the bindings are of muscle and sweat: the
eternal apprenticeship. Unconsidered flyleaves are flags of faith – like
the pages behind and ahead, seemingly inert. Study the seeding and
sprouting, all that secret advocacy of soil and weather. Honour the endless
editing, endless proofing; occasional flowering of pages in sun and rain.

1st – The Hydraulic Garden
On a sloping site like this she has to be cautious – she takes that whistling
metal bird as a warning. In the garden of showery surprises, she practises
her gracious shrug: what better remedy for sweltering Tuscan heat? The
cardinal grins: God knows exactly whom to drench, this time at least.

2nd – The Therapeutic Garden
Life in the hands will flow back to the heart. Earthworms, millipedes,
wood lice, beetles attend the granular sacrament. Like a mole you nose
through your life’s detritus. Anxieties let go; clichés wither on the vine.
Whatever lands on your skin is all for the best in the weather of healing.

3rd – The Garden’s Guardians
Salt will keep slugs at bay but mustn’t be watered in next morning. You
won’t find toads for sale on market stalls any more, but toad men there are
who’ll ferret out your need, sweetening your plot with hymns of victory.
Toad escapees from dogs and rats must be coaxed back into service.

4th – The Garden of Industrious Solitude
Cinquefoil, blackberries, johnsworth are a memory threatened by beans –
seven folded miles, the oldest crying out for hoeing. Arrowheads point to
exhaustion of nutrients by an extinct nation. Yet in this productive weed
the yellow soil expresses its summer thoughts. Hardest is the selling.

5th – The Garden sub judice
A maverick of arbitrage votes for a lawn to replace uneven paviers –
there’s a wee one in the womb. A CCTV operative can wangle a discount
to foil gnome snatchers. A pensioner hankers for a rare hebe, like a trophy
for a life well lived. Indoors, animosities relax in their private gazebos.

6th – The Garden of Ill-gotten Gains
A third of all electricity theft is used to power these sweet-smelling
indoor smallholdings. Sometimes there’s a ordinary-looking bay with the
TV on, the beds stretching back behind a partition. Look for a house in
winter with no snow or frost, the warmth of guilt irradiating suburbia.

All six – The Imperial Garden
An emperor can be hard to surprise! The meteorite is slid on rollers in the
sleeve of night, a gang of dumb illiterates negotiating the moon bridge.
The caretaker lies drugged in the pavilion. The accomplice, hearing a
horse’s whinny and a rumble like thunder, smiles at her pillow book.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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