The lack of rain meant that most vegetable plots didn’t do very well this year, but there is still a tangle of tomato vines straggling alongside next door’s pig sty.Seeing the plants reminded me of a line from this piece, which, to judge from the pumpkins, was probably written in late September. It was published in South Bank Poetry Magazine back in summer 2009, so I shall resist the temptation to start tweaking it now.
Today I walked beside the river,
away from town, past the straggle
of pink and yellow houses that infringe
all urbanistic planning schemes.
I counted four se vende signs strung
on twelve assorted fences, plus two
so weather-faded as to be illegible.
From twelve over-sized gardens, nine
over-sized guard dogs barked at me.
On the dirt road I saw a copper frog
no bigger than the orb-spinner
whose web I break unceremoniously
each morning when I swing wide
the iron gate which separates
the orchard from the sheep track.
Unkempt tomatoes sprawled, blushing,
alongside tattered undergrowth.
In one untended vegetable plot,
a dozen body-snatcher pumpkins
basked in the early sun.