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COUGHTON GARDEN POEM COMMISSION 2012

These garden poems were illustrated by Katie B. Morgan.

No Mercy, Lilioceris Lilii

My domain, unwelcoming,
you handsome, post-box-red-and-shiny adversary,
rebelliously perched on defenceless
Fritillaria , Lilium, Cardiocrinum.

Susceptible green points spiralling around stalks
require my stealth patrol reconnaissance
overhead and underside constant surveillance,
enabling ruthless beetle --busting
in sfp (special forces posture).

I remember my annus horribilis, powerlessly
watching slime and troops multiplying.
Now, I am mighty. You stand no chance.
With vengeance, I pick nemesis off.
Pinching pest heads, crushing
hard bodies with bare hands,
and I don’t care if you’re mating:
All the better, you’ll go in the act.

 


Bog Garden Usher

Is this your place for viewing?
Take your seat, your ticket is checked.
Yes, this is your time.

Bowing male ferns open your scene
framed with bulrushes posing in a Nile.
Perfect stagecraft planted the Gunnera;

leading character of Egyptian proportions
unprickly at a distance and scary –
so intimate on path’s edge. Note

all movements closely.
Follow green melodies and rhythms,
listening with your eyes

to pink swathes of persicaria choruses
resonating softly whilst articulate hostas
decrescendo to backstage exits.

New thoughts surface effortlessly,
floating on inner stillness.
Intently echo the soundtrack here and

shift damp attitudes, dark audiences.
Absorb the atmosphere. Welcome to this
Theatre of Silence.

 

GREENBACKS

Greenbacks flood spring markets each year, plump and protein rich,
long before toughening days, depletions, drier times of austerity.

Ease the squeeze, go to print, precedence for new tender abounds. Phyto-ink,
leaf-paper reams; stocks are needed for bailing out [photo]synthetic economies.

A no-risk investment for banks gone empty with lending to winds prevailing, a
quantitative ease will stimulate activity on forest floors crawling with traders.

These green skins wrap it all up, do a good job of keeping it all in. With zero per cent
interest, tax exempt and no history of bankruptcy, they remain un[ac]countable.

 

I have a name

I have a name too, you know,
and it’s not “Buttercup” or “Nettle!”
You look past me, as if I don’t exist,
as though I don’t matter and you couldn’t care
less if I were here or not.
“Cluttering the roadsides like gypsies,”
“best mown down,” I hear or worse,
“spray once or twice per year.”
But if I weren’t growing “out of place,”
what would your world look like?
We’re not just filler, you know,
and don’t need to be weeded, either.
You have to admit, our colours
are a contribution to society, we provide
important services, useful remedies.
“Collection of hoodies, gangs of thugs,”
us commoner annuals and perennials
have a voice too you know, and by the way,
my name’s Papaver dubium to you,
(“Blindeyes” to my mates).

 
 In situ at Coughton Court Gardens

In situ at Coughton Court Gardens

 
 

Peony Painting

Proud hostess of VIP’s (Very Important Peonies)
I wait all year for my thumbs to encounter
spongy marshmallow heads on stalks.
Inverted exclamations hover in the cutting garden,

blending in with the masses where they can.
Snipping buds and opened flowers
I bring epic luxury in by the armful,
filling nothing but my best vases.

For fickle tastes and diva-drama,
my pouting guests soon cast off
entourages of petals, jubilees of effort,
in heaps no post-performance praise can save.

A happening so carefully prepared in a year
now reduced to a vase-full of stems.
They came and went so quickly. Now
why is there a stain where petals once fell for me?

 

Queen of the Arrow

Damp with endurance, I come to this quiet season
opening court of hope along River Arrow. Parting heavy soil
I enter humble queen: The noble Allium Ursinum.

Aromatically cloaked, I step forth confidently.
Stately carpets distinguish family regalia
in the pungent drama of broad lanceolate leaves.

With elegant sceptres extending towards heaven, I proffer starry white
diamonds to Tilia. Her permanently outstretched limbs above expect
bejewelled alms to feed heart-shaped cordatas by the thousands.

I am no daughter of Ramses, famed Queen of the Nile, holding
royal blue empiric status. Nor the imitateur mortel of cousin
Queen Lily of the Valley, seductively ringing enticing, colonising bells.

I am humble Ramson, the Comestible, (Wild Garlic to my lover)
the Amaryllidaceae in the House of Avon,
crested artery of British heartland.

 

Your face fools me
Floribunda,
I stoop to smell
engineered perfection
and find nothing.

Your fragrant breath,
English rose,
affirms expectation;
fulfils hope again
and again and again.

 

White Garden

Opal pebble
in a verdant sea of
dancing, splashing colours.
Plunging structures anchor
floriated shadows, hues
changing with each
season.
Foaming haven
of pure reflection Achillea
“The Pearl”, attracting butterflies
who bounce off Viburnum opulus,
snowballs cascading to stiller surfaces.
Crambe cordifolia, the greater
sea kale, rolls in sprays
of evaporating
brine.
Crashing in waves
against crystalline sands
of cooling Stipa Gigantica.
Frothing hydrangeas dissipate
thoughts into pools of fragrant
Philadelphus - Manteau d’Hermine,
the fragrant mock orange, clearing
impassioned minds with
utmost clarity.
Sweet Cicily
vapours rise in crystal
salt trails, astringently
cleansing the
senses.

 

Topiary
Patient Topiarius,
I am the stout architect of
Topias, equipped, envisioned
to plant: Majestic partitions,
living edifices of structure
embellished with arches
of distinguishing
grandeur.
An esteemed craftsman, building domes, making alcoves
evergreen towers and
obelisks; whether past or contemporary, I create features
and echoing any age,
gratify all fanciful notions! I enjoy raising follies, making
decorations, adornments, motifs of beautiful dark-shaped
parameters. Paradise containers-luxurious depositories of
living sculpture and heirloom collections. For room upon
room inset with sharp – edged apertures then followed by
formal parterres, boxes of symbols with complex patterns,
articulate pieces-ancient board games. Evolving entrance
to ancient fairy tales, sidelined labyrinths, hidden grottos,
enchanting mazes, constructs of clipped living structures
cut like hewn stone courses and mortared together to last.

 

Tale Tellings of a Cousin

We couldn’t be more opposite, my kinsman, Wisteria, and I.
His pale biannual petal clusters making fragrant wine,
classic pendulums tantalising the senses.

In contrast, I’m a catwalk cultivar.
I need lights
and staging
and yearly sowing.
My bling-dripping attire is delicate, inedible. Fashionable
Papillion’s tinted in trendy colours, do big

shows each year. I would not even risk being seen without
delicate twists on fascinators, tendril arcs perfectly accessorizing
timelessly classic shot silk and green organza.

He’s a genus, my cousin - I admire him greatly. A martial knight
advancing victoriously; powerfully wielding coiling green lances,
ever-achieving new positions. He pries unsecured opponents off easily.

Sprung threads, on the other hand, disguise my sinuous strength.
Shamelessly ambitious, I, Lathyrus odorata, viscerally clamour up
social ladders, forever pulling to new heights, fame, developments.

As I ponder our Family Fabaceae, perhaps we aren’t so very opposite.
I can see how his vigorous strength matches my pushy drive, that our signatures
are identical–pentamerous flowers arranged as banners, wings, and two fused keels.

Our pea-like faces share a sublime fragrance, both equally charming frequent visitors
to handle our exchanges and a similar neediness for constant support prevents
collapsed entanglements….our glory soon withering in days of endless sun.