Francis Webb often seemed to hide his meaning deep within his poems. Many times I have been surprised to discover the theme of one of his mysterious writings. It intrigues me to try and imagine why he did this: was he trying to be difficult? Did he simply enjoy this style? Was it the only way he could express such deep emotions and ideas? Was he merely acting as a conduit for an intuition he had to appease? I do not yet have the answer and there may well not be one.

A long time ago I had a go at writing in this style, but it was not by accident or an attempt to be clever. In 2008 I suffered a crippling bout of severe depression that floored me for many months. I was laying on the warm concrete one day in a desperate hope that the sun might inject some life into my defeated soul. With my eyes closed I had a vision of the flourishing tomato plants that used to reside in our now fruitless and weed stricken garden. At that moment I decided I would get up and start preparing it for some fresh plant life. This was a basic attempt to give myself something productive to do and maybe keep my mind active for a while to keep the demons at bay.

For some reason, and possibly by coincidence, this moment sticks in my mind as the moment the trajectory of that depressive episode turned for the better. Of course this is not the be all and end of my treatment; I was seeing a therapist and regularly attending 12 step meetings, and this was the true crux of my recovery. However I will never forget how my improvement moved along with the cultivation of the garden. By the time the garden was lush with delicious ripe tomatoes I was back at work, feeling much better about life and myself; and making plans to begin the journey that eventually lead me to university.

I am not so impressed with the poem as a work of art, but I love what it represents!



Desolate, barren, soil.

Scrawny, debris of lifeless plants.

Once so rich and vibrant.

An abundant harvest.

Now withered and decayed.



We must remove the old expired vegetation.

We must eliminate the old,

To make room for the new.

Extract the weeds.

The devious parasite,

Yearning to take over.


A clean slate.

We turn the soil.

We add nutrients.

Create a place that will sustain life.

A place that will nurture life,

Promote growth.


Plant the seedlings.

They are tiny and fragile.

They will need our care and attention.

But they will need to find their own potency.

In the end, we can but watch.

It is up to nature.


We wait and see.


7 thoughts on “Blog 6: Allegory or Metaphor (I always get those mixed up)

  1. Hi Nigel,
    I really appreciated your poem about the garden as both a reflection of your own life and a form of creative expression. I think the garden is an excellent extended metaphor/allegory for our own mental health, and agree that gardening can be really therapeutic, especially the sense of achievement we feel when we can grow something we can eat. Gardening can really mirror life in the sense that it comes down to both nature and nurture, or hard work and luck, an idea I think you’ve captured well in this poem and emphasized with your final lines.
    Eleanor ūüôā

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Neil,

    I am glad that you have planted a seed of new beginnings, which you have nourished and nurtured by making a change, I see your tomato plants are evidently flourishing, it looks beautiful,  for me the plant  resembles hope, because you were able to continue with maintaining it. , life is a journey, with this journey comes our rewards,life lessons, with these lessons comes  the  will to change, no one can ever take away what you have accumulated in life intangibly, Francis poem relates to relates to this,  and to what I have interpreted is, we learn from the past to gain a better future, but this could only be done by letting go of the past, to make room for the new, as Francis wrote in his poem:

    We must remove the old expired vegetation.

    We must eliminate the old,

    To make room for the new.

    Extract the weeds.

    Best wishes in the near future and God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey Nigel,

    Would like to initially thank you for your bravery in this piece! You have shared a part of your journey with us as readers. Your warm and soft tonality in writing this piece helps the reader to know that there is a positive outcome in the end. Additionally to this, you have expressed your personal perspective on Webb’s poem with your own story. Any great poet uses their life experiences in their writing which is what you have shown here. You should be proud of yourself!

    Enjoy the break and see you in class.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Nigel,

    Wow! What a fantastic piece. I truly appreciated reading about your personal journey. I really loved how you re-told the moment you lay on the concrete in the sun – I can empathise and connect with what you have expressed. It makes sense to look to the sun to feed and heal the self, as it possesses an abundance of vitality and vibrancy. You have a real talent for writing and have articulated your feelings so well! Nurturing a living thing is a beautiful kind of therapy. You have nourished something and in return, it has nourished you. Your poem wonderfully and metaphorically explores the stages of your mental health journey. Furthermore, your questions regarding Francis Webb were a great addition to your blog post.

    All the best, keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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