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for Mary Jane


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that free land of Harebells is under attack

the few remaining Stars of Bethlehem

hide from view on account of the pogroms


who remembers ever sighting

Forget-me-not & Thyme-leaved Speedwell

while we accelerate

thru countryside

long since subdued & occupied

no Traveller’s Joy

to brighten the journey


rumour has it there are still some left

lying low in secret places

they scarcely dare to show their faces

to the men who mow sans mercy


careful reconnaissance might uncover

enclaves of Wild Strawberries

trample on them & they’ll yield

bloodstains on the mangled green


Love Lies Bleeding

thwarted in its brave attempt

a garden escapee

that made a bid for liberty


swept away the Butcher’s Broom

Lady’s Tresses cut & shorn

Gallant Soldier fell in battle

Slender Naiads fled the brook

Melancholy Thistle looks sadder & sadder

Poet’s Narcissus pales & droops

beside a poisoned stagnant pool

Purple Flag turns white & calls a truce

Creeping Yellowcress

crestfallen cowardly



not quite all have given up the fight

some will try a last-ditch stand

so long as there’s a ditch to stand in

determined opposition will persist entrenched


they’re tenacious these rustics

come of hoary peasant stock

they rise up in rebellion

in green pastures

beside the still waters


Prickly Saltwort has established a beach-head

heedless of the lesson of Gallipoli


Dwarf Gorse guerrillas

make raids from the hills

those cunning little gooks

are a new yellow peril


there are forays from forests

by Woodruff & Foxglove

Brambles wait in ambush

behind hedgerow & shrub

to catch unwary ramblers off their guard

Skullcap skulking sets a booby trap


right in the middle of the city bombsite

Fireweed reds subversively conspire

with others that police don’t know the names of

they plot in plots to overthrow

lawn order and

the standards of our haughty culture


ranks of disciplined domesticated plants

will hold them back


terrorist terrestrials

have to be stopped

topped & lopped

& nipped in the bud

we can no longer tolerate

such anarchic incursions into the state


they’re nothing but barbarians

who’d overrun our Empire

agrarian imperatives

require that we defend ourselves


double dig for Victory

harrow earth till finally

our stubborn foe

is vanquished by the humble hoe


clearly clearances present

a strong cast-iron argument

to totally confute & spoil

the spurious answer in the soil


our natural superiority

will be revealed

when we take the field

we’re bound to win

in this world it’s we who’ll wield

ultimate authority


Cleavers with their sword-like leaves

Arrowhead & Spearwort

& any weapons they can muster

are powerless & obsolete


now we are waging biochemical warfare

we’ve found a more effective herbicide

a better deadlier defoliant


soon there’ll be only sporadic resistance

our scorched earth strategy is sure to succeed

we’ll ruthlessly eradicate

the forces of the enemy


so Anemone farewell

& likewise Asphodel

a glad adieu

to Feverfew

Fennel & Yarrow


bye bye


Purslane slain

may we never meet again


old relict flora’s well-nigh floored

fruitless them mounting a rearguard action

the Sedge has withered

& the Sainfoin wilts

Spurge is on the verge of being beaten

Reed Sweetgrass retreats


we got the route

that put a lot to rout

the rest desert


we’ll ride in triumph on tyrannic tracks

uniform concrete can conquer completely

Nature defeated will be neat & tidy


as yet some thorny problems nettle us

the graveyard’s disgracefully overgrown

dead we make good

compost & bonemeal

to feed the clay & fertilize

poor barren dust


Ghost Orchids haunt us

Poppies spring up in no-man’s land


& even after every stalk is shot

seeds gone underground keep threats alive

of a riot of colours

in a Mayday meadow



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"Gardeners’ Question Time it ain’t"


"The Language of Flowers in a new translation"


"Tour de force of an extended metaphor"






bunch of flowers

a few daffodils?

naked gardener

flower sermon

earth matters


a - z