Came with the House


Original version

When we moved in,
we entered like up-ended sofas
through a poem’s side-door
with a line or two missing
about an inventory of extras
you’ll have to imagine.

We’ve got a reservoir
at the bottom of the garden,
steep slopes like a hill-fort,
grass sheared by sheep,
water fenced off with spikes, as if
guarded by Ancient Britons
like a secret weapon
which glistens like a sword
dangled above our heads trusting
aging ramparts
the way Naples trusts Vesuvius.

There’s the Metrolanders
squeezed like toothpaste
out of London,
cutting Elizabeth’s hunting forest
down to size,
guzzling up the water last summer
till it thickened with mud
and we told depressed flowers
to snap out of it
and joined the sheep praying for rain.

Must mention the daylight fox
we saw last Sunday
in all his naked glory,
his bush afire
amid the kindling grass.
We have his garden now,
and two dogs keeping him out.
He stared through the fence,
my eyes met his as his met mine.
We come in peace, I whispered
on behalf of civilisation,
and he ran away
to enjoy being wild.

 

Second version

When we moved in,
we squeezed like up-ended sofas
through this poem’s back-door
with a line or two missing
about being immeasurably happy here
for you to find and supply.

Like it or not,
we are overlooked by a reservoir
at the bottom of the garden,
grapple-steep slopes like a hill-fort,
grass sheared by sheep,
a coralled beast of
untamed water, captive but
deceptively calm,
fenced off with spikes, as if
guarded by Ancient Britons,
some secret weapon
to be launched at us
on the ground below, trusting
the way Naples trusts Vesuvius.

It’s about accepting the legacy
of the Metrolandersvolk,
the ones squeezed like toothpaste
out of London,
with the forests of hunting royals,
but not the royals, cut down to size;
the folk choking roads in chugging cars
or brandishing railway tickets
in jostling rites of passage.
Well, if these same folk didn’t go and
guzzle up the water
till it thickened with mud last summer,
so bad we had to tell depressed flowers
to snap out of it
and join the sheep praying for rain.

Must mention the daylight fox:
we have his garden now,
and two dogs to keep him out.
It was a dry Sunday morning,
the evangelists in the hut next door
were joyously drowning out
our chirping birds even
though we had them extra high on seed.
He was staring through the fence,
in all his naked glory,
his brush afire
amid the kindling grass.
My eyes met his as his met mine.
We come in peace, I whispered
on behalf of civilisation,
but he ran away
to enjoy being wild
like a noble savage with a grudge.

.

© Nemo 2019
Views: 870
critique and comments welcome.

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Gothicman
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If this is new from your talented pen, Gerald, then surely it’s for your benefit as well, as lack of the inspiration to create something new has been woefully frustrating for mainly you as well as for us! Finished or not, this shows, IMHO, you can still write excellent poetry. I’ve always thought your biggest mental block has been trying too hard to maintain the high standards you set during your more mentally-agile youth and middle-age, instead of putting something….anything down on paper and adjusting with refreshed eyes later! Like what I do! Lol. It has always puzzled me why… Read more »

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