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Tag Archives clematis


A flock of goosanders fishes in the Straits,

as ubiquitous oyster catchers whistle

on the shore. In the early evening

the air about our balcony throngs

with birds – swallows whispering, swifts screeching,

two ring-necked doves cooing in the clematis,

and a small flock of sparrows chattering

below – as the last sun shades the mountains

opposite. By night three fishermen

make their profaning way along the pier

with swaying torches. The seeming darkness

above the peaks is thronged with unnamed stars

we cannot see,



If I were a painter – and I would have

so many memorable titles – I would paint

your garden in all its rooms and seasons:

across the high back wall spring’s coral pink

clematis; summer’s sword-leaved, red-flamed

crocosmia by the aquamarine

gazebo; the white, weathered table and chairs

and the acer on the dark-brick terrace;

plants inherited, self-seeded, handed on

in stewardship – a world compendium.

You are the architect, builder, labourer –

and only begetter: ‘Sylvia Among

Her Sonnets Without Words’



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 –



You and I with fifty valentines and

February’s sun pale on the glass!

We count the camellia’s crimson blooms –

and remember, last summer, our grandchild

shivering with ecstasy the day

she chased her daddy with the garden hose.

From here, the house seems sentient, our

remembrancer – the lawns and borders and

parts of neighbours’ houses an urban landscape.

In this wooden hexagon – a half-glazed

gazebo, its blind back turned to a high

Victorian wall festooned with ivy

and clematis –