After a year of talking, it emerged that if I wanted
To know how I was coping, I needed to look at my lawn.
The first year of living alone, my garden was a defiant
Point of pride and produce, growing too much, planting
Just for colour.
Second year, I put my fingers in the pulsating mower,
Grew afraid and desolate in horticultural proof of independence.
Perfect patch and border edges could not hide agitative stretches
Of tired time in too much land.
Last year washed out. Nestling potatoes died in sod,
Strawberries licked no cream. No time, or perhaps I gave up
Pretending I could do things on my own, or that I wanted to.
Wilderness stepped in.
Today my mower started. A lawn fit for strimming, yet
No whip lash plant slasher operational, nor will to wield it.
A rose arch down and the second a wrecking ship above a
Wild sea border.
Last year, in therapy this would have spelt doom:
My overgrowth symbol of relational failure,
The start shy mower a penance as
'Woman fights nature weedily alone'.
Tonight in mowing grass, a windfall perception harvest:
Strangely proud of disarray, defiant even. What matters
If every school parent collecting looks over hedge
And nose as wilderness judge?
To project their censure or pity is to fail.
I can reveal to the village that the Fat Pigeon Parliament
Meets every morning above decaying roses. They rail, they moan,
They get little done. They nest in my burgeoning hedges and the
Chuckles out worm purchases and sewing machine needles
My lawn dandelion jungle. Rather than pity, they can envy the
Halcyon truth of a Hannah who has got these things right:
I have been taking moon baths,
Singing in ecstasy to lapwings,
Eye meeting hare and deer,
Watching sky cathedrals
And adventuring with my girl
On school nights down our river.
(Parliament meeting house below.)
And the general display of a life being lived and a garden being neglected: