Consider the flowers in our flower garden, how they rot.
Such promising buds! Early and extravagant,
each an answer to the other’s colour, each parting lip perfect.
Without warning, then, bruised and upset, they let themselves drop.

Into nothingness. An abyss. We watched. Not storms, not frost –
we’d had none. The sun had loved them. Not drought –
we’d watered them. It was a bitterness rubbed them out.
Some wish spoken in moonlight. Some curse.

Such children as these disarm us with their refusal to impress.
How we coax and cry at their withered heads!
But they are resolute. Determined not to touch us
with their possibility, they choose death instead.

Across the hedge the neighbours’ poppies soar.
We smile and wave. Behind their backs we roar.


– Taken from Between Here and There, Carcanet Press, 2002.