Growing Patch

For years it was a briar patch,
the spittoon for my tar babies
where dog-ends crouched and mucked about,
a wasteland, harsh for lions’ teeth,
few tattered rugs for undergrowth,
a two-piece suite though downside-up,
no longer fire-resistant kite
flying as passers tipped more dump.


Deep roots beneath the mats required,
agent orange or napalm spray
from TV dinners, Nam and eggs;
but then despite my settled view,
like greenstick-fractured sapling torn,
my seasoned outlook snapped in two,
algebra working in my bones,
now marrow spreading, open flowered.


New groundwork digging in my mind –
a landscape under my control,
working not against, with the clay,
the carpets floored a compost heap.
I burned brambles, skipped furniture,
nightshade cleared from the deadly dock,
laid grass where the couch had strayed,
from mattress rot, created beds.


Now creepers climb where nettles rashed,
an arbour necklaced jasmine gems,
prim roses replace trailing dogs;
the paving crazed, thyme on its stones
the garden broom flings seeds about –
while honeysuckled by the bees.
Herbaceous fills the spacious soil –
I put flags out to celebrate.





Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Used by permission of the author.

Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over ...more