This Festive Season
For Peter Wells
‘you will always be/ that sole cigarette ember
on a summer night/ blending into the wilds of the garden
you planted behind a sentinel of spiders’ — Morgan Bell
Top heavy, agapanthus, heralds of the season
kiss the ground at the front of our house
after so much unseasonal rain and seasonal sunshine.
Next door has blue ones and ours are mauve
both virginal, reminding me of my husband’s late aunt
who gifted the flowers over thirty years ago
when the house was new. She was the one who shocked
her granddaughter, uninitiated in religious life
when she lay prostrate at Christ Church Cathedral.
On the western side Christmas colours of green and red
abound, including firecracker or cigarette plant.
Grown taller than I am, there’s money plant
if you’re superstitious, or jade if you romance.
A burgundy crepe myrtle my best friend gave as a miniature
thrives, something my friend couldn’t manage.
Along that side there’s grevillea robusta, bottlebrush
native frangipani, macadamia and multiple tibouchina, masking
the view of Munibung Hill. Recent weather caused
the Havana cigar plant to creep horizontally on the path
impenetrable for the aged and unstable. There’s a place
for us though without leaving the house to partake
in shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art of ‘forest bathing’.
From my kitchen chair I look across a covered deck, a walkway
and melaleucas that fold and unfold to acreage of eucalypts, so tall
they dissolve the horizon. This year a poinsettia glows in a bulbous
terracotta pot. Following the sun’s path throughout the day
allows a sharpening of senses and calm descending.
Left alone, nature carouses. Scruffy needn’t equal ugly.
Sometimes heaven touches earth and when it happens here
it’s a blessing for randomness, since the contrived are unfavoured.