Butterfly Bushwacked

Buddleia
Buddleia davidii by unknown

 

Butterfly Bushwacked

Buddleia !  Buddleia !  Ev’rywhere, buddleia !
Growing in gardens too small to contain it.
Growing in wasteland and making it muddier –
Railways and quarries won’t even restrain it.
And then in July, see it all turn to violet
As thousands of flowers bring stamen and style.
Soon, we think, soon comes each painted-up pilot
To flitter and dazzle and make it worthwhile.
But here in the suburbs, with bushes amassing,
There’s plenty of purple, but no Blues in sight.
Just when did we last see a butterfly passing,
Aside from the moths and the odd Cabbage White ?
Here in the suburbs, these shrubs ramble well,
Yet we won’t see a Camberwell Beauty near Peckham,
Nor ravenous inchworms descending to wreck ’em !
So no Painted Lady, no Marbled and Tortoiseshell,
Won’t see an Argus, a Skipper or Admiral.
Monarchs and Emperors too have set sail,
So where the Fritillary ?  Wherefore the Swallowtale ?
Coppers and Brimstones have melted away,
Hairstreaks and Ringlets receded to grey,
The Gatekeeper’s keyless,
The Speckle Wood’s treeless,
And where are the Peacocks we avidly spy ?
Comma and Map and Wall,
Where do their larvae crawl ?
Where do their mothers all gravidly fly ?
Small Heath and Meadow Brown,
Not to be seen in town –
Naught but irruptions of davidii !
And soon it’s September, and blooming is ending,
And then they’re just weeds that need far too much tending.
Buddleia !  Buddleia !  Ev’rywhere, buddleia !
I tell you, the purple invasion is pending…

 

 

The Good Life

Carmelites
Carmelites in the Garden by Roger Guillemot

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The Good Life

This abbey is the work of nuns,
Who sing her offices each day
Without a tenor in their range,
And in-between, they farm her grange:
They tend her pens and rabbit runs,
They milk her goats and rick her hay,
They gather greens and fatten veal,
Grow herbs to spice and herbs to heal.

They fish her trout and brew her ale,
They harvest cochineal from scale,
And tucked away in back-court sheds
Are pigeon-cotes and mushroom beds,
Her mulb’ry trees, that once was tried,
Still bloom – though all the silkworms died.
The snailery’s a better omen,
Raising broods of brown and Roman.

They see her fields are sown and scythed,
Her sheep are shorn, her orchards plucked,
They see her queens are safely hived,
Her cocks are henned and drakes are ducked.
They churn her cheese and bake her buns
Until their tender hands grow blisters –
What this abbey lacks in sons,
She made up for in sisters.