POEM FOR A GARDEN
And what do the smash of rhododendrons know? A squall of them spilling over the wall - sun driving its heat through the head of each flower; a growing shudder rusting on the ground below - pink stars crumbling on the pavement. 1 It was the height of summer and the sun stopped in the head of a bull. The garden wailing with flowers, shorn grasses writhing, birds sniping in the deciduous leaves, the Clyde breeze sifting through the town. It was the height of summer and the constant light hurt my eyes, hurt the green poinsettia on the windowsill. Then the light hurt everything - the birds stopped, the shorn grass stilled, the breeze changed direction. All became as the poinsettia, all dreamed of the darkness, of our real red selves. 2 At Glengyle - listen to the street-cats yowl. The collared doves' cooing crawls through the air with the cries of tired children. And the wood pile groans - listen to the rings of the cut stump moan. Look to the Rosemary in the Belfast sink; look to the bay tree and to the hand prints of the rhubarb leaves, the climbing rose, and under the gooseberry where my babies grow. 3 The rhubarb in the garden hounds me - its thick pink stalks rising out of the ground the mound of it grows bigger by the day - no one will pick it, cook it. Soon it will suffocate the garden entirely - its huge flag leaves bend towards me. I watch it from the window - wild animal - I hear its music when the wind blows - a sort of jungle fever - there is no peace when the rhubarb grows. 4 Trinities of strawberries. Brute-red - the little knuckles hang angry as thunder. What a wonder they are - salvaging themselves every summer without fail from the bottom of the rotten green sacks stacked at the back of the garden. Strawberries to die for - sun-bells, green speckled skins growing beside the red - like the wheat and the chaff: one shall be picked for the right and one shall be picked for the left. 5 Deadheaded fuchsia flowers, like birds feet and red as war paint, scattered on the ground. 6 I walk the circumference of my garden through long grass and ditch - I stride past apple trees, cherry saplings, a silver birch, the pins and thrums of late primroses; grappling for room. Where do the grasses go? They burn, they burn. Where do the dandelion puffs blow? They catch on my tongue, seed in the air, bloom in my womb, grow on my thumb. It was the height of summer and the sun stopped in the head of a bull.
MARION MCCREADY lives in Argyll, Scotland. She is a recent recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award (2012/13) and winner of the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2013). Her first full-length collection, Tree Language, was published in Spring 2014 by Eyewear Publishing.