In August the buddleia finally pushes
electric purple heads to the third rail,
a wave of dancers – jewelled feathers
that bow with every passing train;
the sun pounds on crisp yellow fires of
cooch grass, and the willowherb splits
and keels to toss new year to the ballast.
We stop, we start and then
we come to Elmstead Woods.
There humanity waits in a romance, cut into the hill
beyond twin jowls of tunnel brick.
A man reads his paper by the trellised arbour,
breathing deep, looking to the sky, looking out along the line.
A woman rests her heels on granite sett steps,
two blocks askew on the little earth bank.
There’s a pegged-out circle of short cut beeches and a
low picket fence around the petite pond,
and a mown lawn with stone borders.
And roses, white roses, headed and tended, pruned and trimmed.
Static, unmoved, they call, they smile.
Those bedfellows the cultivated honeysuckle and wild convolvulus
play a cheerful choke. At about this time of year
the happy old winders are flailing and splaying
across every garden wall, leading across weeds,
chewing through the grass and slithering to the stems.
Looking up to the sky, looking down to revolution, they gyrate silently
like gibbons that have been locked away for quite some time
before breaking heavenward in another climb.
Summer is the time for them. The sunshine brings them out,
makes them grow, makes them think,
makes them love, makes them war.