Searching for seeds online, I discover
Thompson and Morgan suspended orders,
there’s a queue to get onto Sutton’s, 25571
is my number, 6,630 people ahead of me.
I send a help message. Try Sarah Raven a friend
suggests. My brother calls, he was lucky
on eBay. I’m not snipping and bunching now
not even for the dead or dying.
The birds seem louder than ever
and I’ve never seen so many butterflies
in a month. I view pictures of pendulous
flowers of rusty foxgloves and bell–shaped
purple columbine, deep–blue cornflowers,
forget–me–nots, ragged robin, feverfew,
herebell and hemlock. I find wild flower seeds,
a buy–two–get–two–free deal with free postage.
I order four packets for £6.45, calculate
100 grams will do 20 square metres.
When this is all over, my colourful
heads will thrive there, undisturbed.
When this is all over, said the forger,
I will lay my brush aside
and drown the bristles in unglassed water
for there have been too many purple skies.
My first had to be signed ‘necessity’
and it was the hardest I had worked,
to catch the lie from another’s teeth
in a painting that wouldn’t hang crooked.
The orders fell like words after the first
and always a new trick to hide
myself in the gilt frame’s tryst.
I mixed tears to star my nights,
crushed toenails into a dull pearl,
yes, blood in a scarlet Hannibal glow,
every one with my back to a world
that tallowed my spine through the window.
It takes closed eyes, bathed in linseed and lime
to peel rhyme from an orange,
and what canvases I would unprime
for a single skin of my own paint.
To colour my lost moon of Etta
I would lay my lies aside.
When all of this is over
I will find a new line.
A Gardener in Lockdown
Life has become verbs,
suffer isolate survive.
Out here verbs are kinder,
dig plant clear.
There is optimism in a seed.
A present of green space,
cherry blossom, herb
and rosebud. I look at peonies
beginning to grow
and think about the summer
into which the petals
Even the weeds glow,
and the work is good and slow
and a piece of sky is mine
whenever I look up
from the soil.
I lie down on the cool grass
and feel each stalk push gently
against me, trying to raise me.
I hear the sound of the bulbs
pushing through the loam
and pinecones cracking in the trees.
The garden, the only sane
place to be, now or ever;
close to nature, your hands
feeling the essence of the earth,
your mind freewheeling
as you hear the bees breathe.
The sun is warm upon my face,
and birds call, oblivious to chaos
coursing through man’s world.
Dates unpicked from diaries,
appointments erased or virtualised,
liberation amongst confinement.
And as we emerge the other side
and look into each other’s eyes,
neighbour, kinsfolk, countryman,
any citizen of the world, we will know.
Know what they have seen,
know what we have all seen,
and felt, together.
The Graphic Designer
When this is all over, said the graphic designer,
I will remove my Pantone® tinted glasses,
allow the sky to be a colour, not a number,
lose focus as I Instagram photos without filters,
that ignore the rule of thirds.
I will take a blunted pencil and sketch
bowls of fruit, half-imbibed goblets of wine,
and I will hang them in my hallway,
on nails hammered without measure,
ignore the fact that the picture on the left
tilts with a 4° lean to the right.
I will default to Comic Sans,
use emojis with wanton abandon,
crease the corner of the page
learn to colour outside the lines.
……………that’s we should be doing. Colouring outside the lines. More tomorrow. Jobs starting with H.