DRAWING ON BLACK

I am accustomed to being becalmed, and going out very little, but now most of the rest of the world has joined me. Keyworkers are busy but others must stay at home to protect us from Covid-19. Life is not a bed of roses for anyone.

People are looking for ways to cope with isolation, singing silly songs, knitting, gathering in virtual chat rooms, or learning to play the ukulele.  Gardens and allotments are being tended as never before.

Many years ago we made a pond in our back garden; it was immediately colonised by frogs, dragonflies and other wildlife, including an occasional heron.  Sometimes, in November when the tadpoles have all hopped out of the pond, a build up of dead leaves and other gunk needs to be cleared from the bottom of the pond. All this dead muck goes on the vegetable garden to await transformation. 

These are prize-winning vegetables photographed at the Vale of Glamorgan show a few years ago. I love the way they have been so carefully dug up with their roots unbroken and washed clean to show the beauty of the colours drawn from the blackness of the mud. 
DRAWING ON BLACK
 
The barrow’s full of gloop
dredged from the pond. I lift 
the handles and the muck
slumps on the kitchen plot. 
 
The birds fly down, 
impress the sticky surface
with spiky hieroglyphics; 
at night the narrow-footed fox
 
sets down his feral mark, 
the worms cast autumn towers,
strange outlines overlap and crack.
I fetch a spade and turn 
 
enigmas upside down,
and hide the stinking ooze
of long dead frogs and fish, 
their convoluted DNA
 
torn into shreds, the slime
of spawn that failed, the dung 
of herons, beetles, gulls;
a sludge of windswept leaves 
 
and curling water weeds,
collapsed, compressed, 
with fallen flowers of iris,
lilies, kingcups, mimulus. 
 
I’m hungry for the Spring, 
for lettuce, carrots, beans and beets, 
the scrumptious colours rising from 
the slurp of sickening black. 
 
 
there are no vegetables in my garden at the moment but the rhubarb is flourishing