A June Day at Riverhill
The wind shifts time across the walled garden,
whispers memories of a lime-free hillside
before the Waterloo Cedar, the Dawn Redwood
and the Turkey Oak dropped anchor;
before the Japanese maple and Himalayan azaleas
tiptoed in from the deep pockets of plant hunters.
On this June day the garden is dizzy – hungover
with rhododendrons. And along the edges
of steep woodland walks an intoxicating smell
of wild garlic pushes tired legs to the summit –
listen to yesterday’s music in the unfolding landscape,
like children catching a rainbow for the first time.
Who thought to call me that?
As though a vixen needs a home for hands ─
if she did, would they be lacy, white and tight?
Elegant evening gloves on speed reaching
from paw to elbow crook.
Or if they’re for her mate, Monsieur Reynard,
would they be thick and rough and hard?
Encrusted gardening gloves for pawing up
the mud and ringing Jack Rabbit’s neck,
when he is unearthed?
Or would they be striped and woolly mitts,
knitted for their kits? Tiny bright paw-shapes
strung on stretchy long elastic through
orange, mangy coats.
Digitalis Purpurea is my better, formal name.
My colour purple, I’m wild, multiplying free,
tall and spikey, inedible, toxic. Don’t you dare
mess with me – the gloves are off.
The softest whisper
sighs this volcano of trees.
Peace of ancestry.