Standing in the doorway in your new school uniform.
Will you learn to use a computer or scratch a tile with cuneiform?
For all your life, with little strife, you’ve been at home right here.
Shall we send you off with smiles while we weep a hidden tear?
This is where it all starts, the thin end of the wedge.
From here, you’re flying solo on life’s precarious ledge.
Stretch your wings and see the things life has for you to learn,
We sit here with your absence, awaiting your return.
Behind the house, the forested hill rises steeply.
Broom, laburnum, rhododendron, lilac each in turn,
Have brightened the woodland wall completely,
Or just in their small niche, down amongst grass and fern
But Spring’s gaiety has faded into Summer’s end
And Winter’s leafless drowse, quiet and serene,
Awaits Autumn, her good red gold to spend,
While we glory in Summer’s blue skies and a wall of green.
Halt, I say! Who goes there?
Are you friend or are you foe?
Be ye dark or be ye fair
By this path, you may not go.
Though my face is like the sun.
You’ll not pass unless I say.
‘til the battle’s fought and won,
I will stand and bar the way.
Hawk’s Beard, bobbing in the breeze.
Your yellow heads, the zephyrs tease.
You wave at every passing bee,
As butterflies flit by so free.
Beware, beware, my warning heed.
The man-with-the-mower thinks you’re a weed.
Duck down amongst the grass and clover,
When the mower passes over.
Well, there’s a surprise! A train pulling coal trucks,
When did we last see one? Must be a year or more.
Coals to Newcastle? In these strange times - it could be,
Or, more likely, coal to tip down some power station's maw.
We thought we’d stopped all that, but it’s started up again.
The way the world is going now, we find we’re learning
it’s going to be hard work to save the planet,
If we want to keep the home fires burning.
An English vicar in Constantinople found,
On his holidays, just wandering around,
This Rose of Sharon, near some religious shrine,
In his garden, he thought that’d look just fine.
So, Rose, have you just arrived from Istanbul?
Were the gardens there getting too full?
Or was it so much less a chore,
To climb over the fence from the garden next door?
Moon Orchid tell me tales of humid climes.
Dark forests where you lived in olden times.
Where jaguars roamed so wild and free,
And the old man of the forest swung from tree to tree.
The dark-eyed loris with his poisonous bite.
Pythons slither past to give you a fright.
Tell me now, honestly, if you will,
Is it boring sitting on our kitchen windowsill?
Greater Celandine, named for Swallows - Chelidon in Greek.
You flower just when the swallows come, their nesting sites to seek.
Various goddesses, the fables tell, and Personae Dramatica,
Became this bird, if things got tough, around the state of Attica
Yet here on earth, a useful plant, a part of herbal lore.
But give respect, don’t take it now, while it’s fresh and raw.
Good for the liver if used aright, or so old healers taught.
But the sap is strong, it’s often used to burn away a wart.
Dog Rose, Dag Rose. Rose with daggers drawn.
Among the leafy hedge, your talons lie concealed.
Beware, for fragile skin can easily be torn.
When beauty’s claws unsheathed are then revealed.
Demure rose, shy rose. Hide from prying eyes.
Let friendly branch and leaf your gentle petals mask.
While you turn your face up to azure skies,
A court of attentive bees is all you ask.
Frivolous Spring’s cast-off gaiety lies all about
The social whirl is over now without a doubt
The fun and frolics have ended for another year
Petals scattered on the ground left without a tear
For playtime now is over, gone with no regret
There’s work that must be done, now that Summer’s set
Put off the frills and lace, pull on fresh green overalls
Seeds need to be nurtured before old Autumn calls
Blackthorn blossom, hedgerow herald,
You have come to show the way.
Your flowers lighten old brown hedges,
'Now it’s spring,’ you seem to say.
Tell the Hawthorn, ‘Wake from slumber!
Spread your tablecloth of green.
Cover old grey bones of branches,
So May Blossom can be seen.’
In Flanders’ fields, the poppies grow,
Where gentle summer breezes blow.
Men lie there still, both friend and foe,
No more homeward will they go.
The broken hearts, the tears that flow,
Their family’s love, they’ll never know.
They died for us, both friend and foe,
We will remember them just so.