Though we are not quite half way through November
four poppies are blooming in the front garden.
Papaver orientale: voluptuous,
shell-pink; stamens a dark heliotrope;
a cultivar by Cedric Morris, artist
and plantsman, who searched Suffolk’s hedgerows and fields
for common poppies with softer colours –
that simple weed the usual scoundrels
have made a shibboleth of belonging.
A night of wind and rain has downed all but one
in the narrow border, where sedum,
rhodendron, berberis, fresia
are properly autumnal. Between the earth
and the house is a row of paving stones laid
to keep intact Victorian foundations.
Rats are tunnelling beneath the slabs.