Today’s prompt asked writers to “to use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem.” You can see Schuyler’s lengthy ‘Hymn to Life’ if you copy the link below:
My own response to his poem follows:
This year’s garden
A lone yellow poppy stands tall and straight in the garden, defying climate and soil quality
To add a splash of colour amidst the endless green of grass and weeds – seeds that we bought at
A car boot sale, in tiny white paper packets, sellotaped together. I remember it well:
The hopeful scattering in October – too late really for anything to take root and grow;
And yet here it is, surprising us all with its defiant optimism. The rest of the flowers are
Still noted by their absence: the spot in the quadrant my husband dug out –
Backbreaking work and laced with angst and trauma – “Bloody next-door’s cat’s decided it’s
An all-day buffet!” – was a blaze of riotous colour by June last year: scarlet geraniums
Dropping blood red petals; white and yellow nicotiana thrusting star-shaped faces above
The cluster of low-lying foliage as if asserting its right to a position in the flower bed.
And the tubs! The velvety purple narcissus trumpets clashed boldly with splashes of yellow
And scarlet – “Only £5.99 from Home Bargains!” – with here and there a solitary gerbera
Springing up silently with ninja-like stealth. How did it get there? We’ll never know.
Summer danced through our garden, even in August: the shop-bought plants and rogue
Interlopers eloping together to scatter their children in places we’d never dreamed of.
Is Nature now secretly working in collusion with other, darker forces? Was she
Jealous of the man-made paradise, the heady mixture of colours and sizes and shapes?
The bees and butterflies that made this garden their holiday destination of choice
Don’t seem to have rebooked for this year: instead, silence looms, and with it a wistful sense of
Absence. Spring has either disappeared or not yet arrived: she is capricious, giving no warning of
When she can be expected – no doubt, she will stroll up in June, claiming to have been buying
Shoes. But then I realise she has already been and gone, the globules of jelly floating in the fish
Pond a testimony to her cunning ways – no doubt, in three months’ time, the water will teem
With wiggling tadpoles – hundreds of embryo frogs swimming for survival; and at least some of
Them should make it to adulthood without being eaten by something else – a heron, maybe, like
The one that polished off an entire pond full of carp when my mother wasn’t looking – at least,
She claims she saw a heron, but no one else did, and it’s true she fed my children fish and chips
For tea that very evening. Still. Sunlight dapples the grass, shafts of light bouncing off the
Variegated green surface – perhaps a sign of hope.