Frank Poems: AUTUMN HOLDS ITS BREATH

Last stand: morning glory peeks out from a tangle of leaves on a teetering teepee. Photograph: Allan Jenkins

(A tiny tweak to an entry by Allan Jenkins in his allotment diary)

The equinox is over.
I am ambushed by the swift shift
To a darker damp. As ever,
I am unprepared. One minute,
Abundance, never-ending largesse.
The next, quick collapse.

First, the old sweet pea:
Hazel home to morning glory
And a rampant courgette vine
On a teetering teepee,
Its tent crashed, crushed.
Sticks snapped by the squash.

Menacing ipomoea tendrils
Tether a nine-foot sunflower,
Pulling it down, strangling
The last of the red amaranth.
It is time to intervene.

I free the helianthus. Cut
The claustrophobic vines.
I reset the old pea structure.
I learn to live with the broken.
I reset to its beauty,
Like in a long-lost garden.

The bean poles are taken down,
Carefully gathered, tied
And sheltered for winter storage.
The cosmos seed has been saved.

Shattered by the fox,
The French marigold bed
Is a mass of seedlings.
I hope they’ll survive the frost.

I thin through the rampant chard,
Remove smothering yellow leaves
And stems. I allow in air.
I trim the puntarelle;
The strip of chicory is alive
With new small leaf.

Early one morning,
I hoe and rake
And string a small seed bed
Where the beans have been.
I sow chicories, chervil.
I add Tuscan kale.
I spray with seaweed feed

and hope.

Winter is coming.
Autumn holds its breath.

"House by the Railroad," Edward Hopper, 1925

22/01/2023

Comments welcomed

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.