On the first spring day of prolonged clear sunshine
she mows the lawns, weeds the paths, hoes the borders,
counts the figs, admires the honesty,
tends the low lavender hedge – then relaxes
on a lounger in front of the gazebo,
framed by clematis and magnolia blooms.
She sleeps, safe in the garden’s ivy clad
chambers – the alfresco rooms she has made
from soil ravaged by lime and gravel.
If she lies too long she will catch the sun –
a curious, promethean turn of phrase
yet right for a gardener who has acquired
from the air itself wild strawberries,
welsh poppies, common columbine, even
honesty. Perhaps I should not let her sleep –
but waking her seems always an intrusion
into the private solitude of dreams.
We have been in love for more than fifty years –
doppelgänger, alter ego; boxing hare,
comedy partner; devil’s advocate,
critical friend; anxiety’s balm, pearl
irritant; good companion, turtle dove.
She stirs – wakened, no doubt, by that slow passion
of plants – before I can rouse her with a kiss,
like any common or garden prince or frog.