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50 Year Plot by Vivi Steels

Posted on June 23, 2017 at 4:00 AM

I have included this poem I wrote in 2002, because I was watching '50 Years of Gardeners' World Live' at the NEC Birmingham on television and there was a sequence about gardening through the decades, which my poem tried/tries to evoke.  It is illustrated with a picture I painted of a corner of our garden in early summer painted in watercolour, acrylic and pen and ink.




50 Year Plot


50s

Simple strip of lawn parallel to washing line

hosts birdbath bordered by rockery

restructured with soil from pond, below.

Paddling pool decorates grass kept weedfree

with shedful of chemical warfare,

as holidays are spent deck-chaired, fenced in.

 

60s

Crazy paving shifts its mad design

to slab patios where recliners and parasols,

gaudy as daisies, mimic the Mediterranean package

as summer tries to erupt in Britain.

Our dream garden – a fern-green forest to worship,

emerges in terraces sloping in waves

down to blue, iris-fringed water.

 

70s

Suburbia grows spikes of heathers and conifers,

low maintenance, indelible colour and height for all seasons,

while travel inspires natural groves,

wildernesses, seas of grasses, wildlife havens

to clash with rows of formality

and pop-art sculptures branching out

from unexpected pastures.

 

80s

Cottage garden is cornered by beehive compost bin,

confusing bees drawn by scent and colour from butterfly border

linking loveseat under rose-entwined arbour

with avenue of borders overflowing drifts of perennials

and pergola clothed with clinging clematis

beyond stream singing its aria.

 

90s

Makeover requires decking spreading its gangplanks

through vista to distant wild meadow,

set off by pebbles, palms and Arabian pots hosting trees.

Raised beds laugh with vegetables interspersed with herbs

behind trellis, painted blue, embroidering boundaries.

Conservatory - all blinds, designer furniture and mirrors -

becomes the stargate between house and garden.

 

2000 and Beyond

Gazebo winks at barbecue entertaining flames

beyond which water feature parasols its fountain

while patio heaters, sparking with avenues of light,

reveal time and space as precious commodities

to be bought and sold in plots

by the highest bidder.

 

© Vivien Steels

Published in WRITE-AWAY - Summer 2000, WRITE-AWAY Special Edition – January 2003,

*PROMISE* - first collection of published poems/colour illustrations designed/printed by Vivien Steels/Vivi*Press – June 2003

& IMAGENATION Vol 6 – Jan 2004

Illustrated with 'Our Garden - Early Summer' by Vivien Steels






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