A Walk through the Botanical Gardens

They burn the North American Prairie each spring

Phlox set against Asters

in drowsy chaos

A white spotted bee (hymenoptera) helicopters over,

Inebriate trees stagger in their midst.

 

A large ginger tomcat, narrow-eyed

sits on the path like a sphinx

alert to every cracking twig

as a grey squirrel leaps the path

its tail an outstretched ballast.

 

Posted sentries line the way

announcing Latinate origins

Oak and Beech and Sycamore grouped as

‘Trees of Temperate Climes’

as traffic contests song from wintering birds.

 

I pass the Rose of Sharon and the Peony (Japanese Quince)

now deceased, or in remission,

besieged by Creeping Dogwood

sheltering under an igloo of berries

A carousel of giddy leaves.

 

Autumn’s warm decay

presses with cold air on my skin

Holly bushes prod the way to the bear pit

inhabited by metal bear staring at the wall

“Last Christmas someone put a Santa hat on his head,”

the woman with the muzzled pit-bull smiles.

 

Opening the door

of the Glass Palace the trained waterfall

drips dispassionately

trying to recapture Chinese Water garden.

The aspidistra – Victorian status symbol,

sits unstirred by Japanese breezes.

Sterile air presses down on Australia, Asia and Africa.

 

The rose garden, still showing off its ageing colours,

Lovely Lady bearing her soft pink heart in scented wrappers

Pan, a nubile boy, hand upraised, staring into middle distance

rabbits, toads, mice and birds at his feet.

All around trees wait patiently, holding up sky.

and white doves flap in pairs; a magpie dips into the willows.

 

Outside square planted beds like slabs of birthday cakes riot

red, white and blue against asphalt path.

A black tablecloth marked ‘P J Taste’ advertises

plastic Pimm’s decanters and glasses

under khaki marquee

A generator buzzes like a monster bee

behind surrendering flags.

 

Sharp suits with furled umbrellas organise events

Walking down Thompson Way, one passes,

his arm a nonchalant pendulum keeping time

with the heavy tread of his dirty shoes

when he swaggers past.

 

A pair of bashful lovers, eyes locked,

linked together like parts of the same machine

roll drunkenly over the lawns

as the sun sulks behind a cloud.

 

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