The Flower Lady

The Flower Lady

“When after fifty years of mutual love
he died – so thus the powers that be
decided they would fell our tulip tree
then move me to a council flat …”

“And so my planting tended with such care
was left, run wild, the weeds that choked, of beauty bare.”

She told me - “Ever since I were a child
I loved all flowers, were beguiled
by any blossom, great or small,
the fragile rock rose, lupins tall.
Each tended by my fingers-green
looked on by she whose verdant dream
gave birth to joy.”

“But now my garden's gone (as he I loved).
I plant my pots, Forget-me-nots;
Sweet William, for his name lays there,
a hundred others in my care.”

Each window crowded with such blooms,
her tiny flat crammed, scenting rooms
with perfumes sensed but seldom held
for Eve as Adam chose to delve
into the secrets of the Earth.
(The price they paid proved little worth).

Dear lady, tender of our Mother's Grace
I'll not forget your smiling face,
as there amongst your potted plants
their riot colour seemed to dance …

But as the seasons turn to frost
not only Nature knows, but we your loss.
The artifice of funeral blooms
the organ's ill tuned, tuneless tunes.
A bell so solemn … Away with this,
a flower's head is each a kiss.
Return to Eden, that garden fair
once more to braid the garlands in your hair.

To the Twins Mary and Marigold

To the Twins Mary and Marigold

As like as one we sisters two
for each are constant, loving too …

But we might play, confuse your sight
a mirrored proof that left is right.

So close we're told
our hair of gold
that curls, each face to frame.
As wild as briar's weaving clutch
(its beauty painful to the touch)
whose thorns no hand will tame.

Or we be gentle as the dove
to coo-l each passion through our love.
Will join in joy a double art,
two 'imps' as one, as one in heart.


An Epitaph

(To the spirit of J S Bach)

When I depart
I would my soul be like the harmony:
your gift to God.

The timeless melody etched deep
to ever cycle in our deepest sleep,
so dream perspectives of such telling love.

An intertwining – both the heart and mind
abstracted now to notes that find
sweet sorrow as of joy.

This, a paradise, no ploy
of man's or'whelming chase;
more like the beauty of a youthful face …

No fate of intellectual pride
but this …
Supreme in truth.

A vista wide as is the sky
that soars beyond …

Your love dear Father gives the reason why
and nature of our song.

Her New Red Trainers

Whether it be Molly alone (whose inclined to dally)
or Sally, well versed – The pride of our alley
there's none that compares to Miss Betty Brown
whose the jewel elite of our western town.

For her tenth birthday treat
she was able to choose
the reddest of red for her new trainer shoes
and with laces so white
proving an 'optical' sight,
went tripping and skipping
the length of our lane.

I remember it well
the charm of her spell …
and the elegant gift of her game.

* * * * *

But childhood is fleeting
an age which is seeking
to throw of the trammels of youth.

Though with time (ever turning)
once more finds us yearning
to return to what once
was an age of gold.

Thus our innocence sold
gives no hope of redemption
unless in the mind
(and not mere invention)
we see the ghost of our past.

The child at her 'task'
of tripping and skipping
the length of our lane.
A beauty enshrined as she plays at her game.

Ms Margaret Jane

Despite she's plain Ms Margaret Jane
still dresses like a child.

It's ever to our guilty shame
we jibe and gossip at her back,
make fun her ageing, stooping lack
of youthful grace.

Her painted face and hectic spot …
(She, no doubt, cares not one jot
of what we think).

So daily takes her dish of tea
from a service made for dolls …
Such genteel 'Pretty Polls'
attend the table at her wish,
partake of buttered toast and fish,
perhaps a tart or two.
Then twice a week, a treat
of jam mixed in with Brambly Apple stew.

What conversations do they tell to each
what lessons can their mistress teach … ?

Then bedded down in linen white,
despite a cracked and tuneless tone
her lullabies to porcelain shades
are sung as dry as bone.

A passing glance. This mirror-maid, bedecked
sees Flora withered, such a fright!
So lays her down to dream or weep the endless, lonely night.

A Forgotten Corner

It was a small field
ploughed in season
but for some reason
it had never received the bounty of seed.

The wanton weed had grown there instead of corn,
some furrows were now choked
or water logged, cloaked
with an unproductive confusion of withering green.

Now I remember, there was talk in the village
of a farmer who had blown half his head away.
His wife, who could not stay
had lain in cancerous death, she his only joy.

Then bankruptcy, looming ever close,
fell on him, it being indifferent to past matters of the heart.
It had taken all. Not even the mark
of a spring harrowing showed itself to the eye.

* * * * *

… the human flesh, the fragment stone
cut to a tomb, the sorrows of a fruitless womb
that hold the essence of our doom, even this must die;
its cast as hollow as a lie that tells of naught.

And yet, despite despair, that darkness wrought,
the mind though fraught through love
may hold some substance in this cruel life …
Until, united then, is free from strife.