Back Catalogue #1 The Kitchen Garden (1989)

Since I am planning to return to the British Isles in the near future after 25 years living in Brazil, I have been reflecting on the past and, in particular, the 32 years that  I have been writing poetry with some degree of seriousness.

In view of this, over the next few weeks, I shall be posting 32 of my stand-alone poems in roughly chronological order. Some of these poems may already have been published online but not on this blog.

Photo by Marcus Spiske on Unsplash

#1 The Kitchen Garden (1989)

[The first of these poems were written in Oxford between 1989 and 1991. As I embarked on adult life, I looked back with affection and nostalgia on the simpler existence of my childhood. Many of the poems, like this one, are about suburban landscapes, plants and gardens.]

Half way down the garden, beyond a creosoted lattice fence, began a vegetable world; where the grass and flowers gave way to cabbages and Brussels sprouts and thick, decent, wet, substantial clods of earth. To move from the realm of turf and lilac, privet, laurel, and roses to this kitchen garden, hemmed in by wire not shrubs, was to enter a world at once wilder and more practical. I remember playing on the crazy paving between the two wings of fertile earth, my clenched hands not much larger than the clumps of uberous Brussels sprouts, hanging proudly from their sturdy stalks. Admiring on equal terms the large lushly veined cabbage leaves, groaning open with goodness, a bit nibbled round the edges by caterpillars but no more imperfect than is lace, engendering white butterflies from their huge dark green crinkled nests; as they might then have admired me amongst them; not much more than a plant then; long before writing or walking. Being able to sit upon almost equal terms in the parliament of these vegetables is the proudest honor I can remember. Democracy is for the young.  The speechless infant. Spoilt even by the crawl of toddlers or of snails.

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