“Wanton” by Stephen Kingsnorth

Irony that cats seek soil, a clearer patch,
dissatisfied, already present mess.
Why such litter beneath my plants?
Making much mayhem,
they drop leaves which rot,
expose bulging vein-line-strings,
suggestive addiction’s secret ways.
They slime the path far worse than slugs
which glitter brilliance in their wake,
a ship slow stirring phosphorescence as a trail.

And balled seeds rolling wantonly,
street girls jostling passers-by
from cement swept clear only yesterday.
Resistant to my garden nurtured neatness –
grooved nasturtiums, bright apple green –
beside edged alternate striped lawn corridors,
measured for admiration over fence,
now lowering tone,
neighbourhood-watch plans undermined.

They failed my summer,
despite compost plastic bags I laid;
they leaved vast plates,
hiding rubies, garnet spessarlite, citrine gems.
Now first frost, their tangled straggles,
bleached scallion leeks, criss-cross weep,
wounds exposed, untidy in their slippy throes.

There snails gorge, do unpleasant things, till
mucky blackbirds come, stab-spiking shells,
and undisciplined, smash-mosaic spread
on my careful crazy paved design,
lime dotting my pristine neutral ground,
oil-paint blobs spoiling canvas screen.

My tilled Eden is grown hell for me,
this native invasion of my territory,
claiming, turned my husbandry,
my taming foiled as all can see,
denying me status secretary,
street garden group, my company.


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 160 pieces published by on-line poetry sites (including Sparks of Calliope), printed journals, and anthologies. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/