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Guest Poet Lizzie Madder

Planting Pruning Weeding

Baby's Breath sunlight plays games with silvered spoons
in this picture-book family the child's morning-dew eyes
catch the fairies flitting flickering flying on the kitchen wall
outside a rose (variety Home Sweet Home) grows tall and graceful

Five years on we're pulling up our roots, saying farewell to windowboxes

filled with Sage (for immortality), Lemon Balm (for heart's delight)
outside the city awaits a garden for the child to play everafterhappy
Foxgloves and nettles hiding whispering creeping behind Honesty and

Ten years another house and Clematis weaves twists entwines through
fragile roses
named Fidelity (a Hybrid Tea) and Hope (a Floribunda)
framing a house built to withstand the storms of our private winters
and the huffs and puffs of your denials and lies
I call you by your names - horehound, devil's tongue, corn cockle

Your green-fingered deceit is shamed pricked forced through to the
your roots rotting squirming withering in the evergreen of your lies
like vine weevils like snails that sneak-slime in the middle of the
like toads belly-crawling to hide in the dark places under rocks

When summer comes
I shall plant a miniature rose (variety Heartbreaker)
and others - maybe Hope and Forgotten Dreams
and, like Aphrodite, pick marjoram
to make a mourning wreath

September, 2001

Lizzie Madder's questions:

I'm curious to know how much is understood or perceived about the background of the poem. Obviously, I know what I see and mean when I wrote it, but I wonder how much of the essence of the story behind the poem comes through.

Also, if you're not a plantsperson, are the references to plants a distraction?

Any general criticism of style, grammar etc would be appreciated.

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