Celebrate RHS #NationalGardeningWeek This year’s theme is “the joy of gardening”. Day Five. Please join Peter Donnelly, Margaret Royall and I. I will feature seven of your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks, one for each day of the week about gardening including your favourite flowers, the gift of flowers, your lawn etc. Please include a short third person bio. This includes vegetables and fruit. What work have you created that celebrates growing and nurturing? Have you written about planting trees, planting seeds, harvest time, spring. About gardens through the seasons? What does your garden do for you? Have you seven poems/short prose/artworks so I can feature your creativity over the whole week, one per day?

Day Five

photo for National Gardening Week

Wife Garden Potted by Paul Brookes

Aunt Emily Gathers Sweet-Peas

They move with grace, these sweet pea blooms, so beautifully at ease
Skirts ruffled and frilled, like ballet dancers with their dainty moves

Layer upon layer they whirl and twirl among the fresh-blown leaves
You almost hear the brisk swish of the soft pink ballet shoes

A blaze of glory, stunning in their very magnificence
A merry-go-round of prima donnas in the gentle breeze;

So striking are they that her guests pause by the rustic fence,
Drinking in the heady perfume luring in the bees

To listen out for birdsong, maybe hear a white dove call
Just lingering there is heavenly, a Summer treat for all.

Aunt Emily has brought her guests to view the summer show
To pause among the blooms and pick a bouquet of the stems,

As cascades from the neighbour’s fountain shoot up from below
Then bathed in sunlight splash down in the crystal pool again……..

These pink and purple bells foretell the glory on its way,
When myriad dazzling colours will explode around their feet……

The fountain’s leap crescendos as the ballerinas sway,
Her summer guests the first to view this cottage garden treat.

Aunt Emily remembers here a husband gone too young
She tends his plot with love and knows his memory will live on……

Shortlisted Crowvus competition entry, published in Pictures Paint a Thousand Words

-Margaret Royall

My African Violet

It was like it knew
its pot was needed
by the pot-bound spider plant
whose own was required
by the pot-bound ivy;
that I had no more space
for another pot,
though I could have bought one.

It was my oldest plant,
it came from the Topiary Tree,
never failed to flower
or grow new leaves,
wasn’t fussy where it was put.

It seemed to like the corner
of my bedroom under the window
until this winter, when it no longer drank
its weekly water, its once broad leaves
grey and withered. Anything but pot-bound,
its roots had disappeared.

I spent years thinking
It was an African primrose,
but it seems it may have been
a violet after all. It lives on
through the spider plant
now adjusting to the still damp compost
it fed, in the terracotta pot
a cordyline came in.

-Peter J. Donnelly

Lawn Cutting

Wife likes our lawn to be cut in straight lines.
A mute boy next door in fascination
Keenly watches the geometric times
I reach the edge, marks the delineation.

He has a toy lawnmower of his own.
Sometimes his mam kindly allows him grip
her hands on their mower, grass mown
by both, her feet follow his as they strip

the wildness out of their lawn. His toy won’t
cut grass but safely glides over its length,
so he stamps and bawls when his world don’t
conform to his straight lines, because it’s bent.

My wife says “Better” to our short shorn lawn.
We all want the wild to be uniform.

First published in Glomag, November, 2021

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich and Writer’s Egg, where some of these poems have previously appeared. Last year he won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition.

-Margaret Royall

Margaret  Royall has six books of poetry published. She has appeared widely in print, in webzines and  poetry anthologies. She has won or been short-listed in several competitions and her collection ‘Where Flora Sings’, published by Hedgehog Press, was nominated for the Laurel Prize in 2021. Her latest collection, ‘Immersed in Blue’ was published in January 2022 by Impspired Press. She leads a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire and takes part in open mic sessions online and in person. She is currently working on a third poetry collection.

Website: https://margaretroyall.com/ Twitter:@RoyallMargaret

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