Monday, November 20, 2017


Down in the back corner the rhododendron tree
is flourishing. It’s all green leaves and foliage
in the late winter light, crowding in on the fence
and hiding the neighbour’s writing studio.
I wonder what he does in there?

The other corner, where they dug out the drain
for the new sewer pipe is bare. The one tree
has no leaves, the ground is hard with stones
and upturned clay, the invading jasmine I cut
has died, is hanging brown above the fence.

I’m sitting on the low stone wall. Thomas is nearby,
curled in the sun, her tail lazily swishing, and my feet
are exactly where the red-bellied black slid by
one day last summer while I was pruning dead stuff
from the feijoa tree and battling blackberry. I froze.

It’s all right here. I feel safe. No-one is suggesting
I change my medication, or give an account of myself.
The plants ask no questions of me. Thomas serenely
offers companionship. Psychiatry does not enter this
lush and hidden garden. My trembling can subside.

I wait till the late afternoon sun is pinking the sky,
and with the wind picking up and the cold change
blowing in I decide to head inside to the fire.
At the bottom of the steps I take one last look back.
A violent gust of wind is scattering leaves.

I mouth a silent ‘Oh’ to the sky.

18 August 2017

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