In response to the Weeds Act (1959)

Bracken fronds have grown in Britain since the Ice Age quit the field,
But suddenly the Government has said that bracken has to yield –
And ragwort too, and certain thistles, though they’re natives to a leaf,
Are now declared as stateless species by the gardener-in-chief.
Buddleia, bamboo and Spanish bluebells get to spread their reign,
While good-old British dock is in the dock, as though it grew cocaine.
There’s plenty caterpillars eating all the native weeds that creep,
But legislators only care for what can feed our cows and sheep.
So throw them off the grouse moors, sweep them into gutters, dumps and ditches –
Can’t have plebby natives on our fairways or our cricket pitches.
Hack the forests down to make our rolling plains of pastures green,
Then wonder why these woodland plants are growing where the trees had been.



Schrödinger’s Cactus

green cactus
Photo by Ravi Kant on


Schrödinger’s Cactus

My cactus sits in an earthen pot
All sullen and squat
By my garden gates.
I think it was here when I bought this plot,
It thinks who-knows-what
As it watches and waits

It’s spiky and green,
And what else can be said ?
It waits to be seen
If it’s living or it’s dead.

My cactus sits in an earthen pot
Where it does not-a-lot
For year on year.
It does not flower and it does not rot
In the cold and the hot,
In the rain and the clear.

It’s spiky and green,
And what else can be said ?
I bet it’s still seen
Long after I am dead.



The First Bounce of Spring

orange tulip field
Photo by Barbara webb on


The First Bounce of Spring

Who would have thought it, a glorious moment in March !
The sun arrives early to soften the lingering starch.
Our sensible shoes might be slackened, though hardly unlaced –
And coats are unbuttoned – but still being worn, just in case.
For this is, we know, but a splinter
In the long flank of Winter.

What should we call it – an Indian summer in March ?
The trees are caught napping, the indolent rowan and larch.
Our Febru’ry faces are cautiously risking a smile.
But still we shall carry umbrellas –  it’s only a trial !
For this is, we know, but a glinter
Before the blackthorn Winter.



The Memory of Woods

tree with brunch and green leaves during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on


The Memory of Woods

Ashes to ashes
And ashes to beeches,
Ashes wherever
The passing breeze reaches,
To scatter and nourish
The bluebells and oaks,
Whose branches are neighbours
And flowers are folks.

Ashes have grown
And ashes have fallen,
But not before raising
Their saplings from pollen –
We sleep with the ivy
And grow with the lime,
Whose roots are in mem’ry,
And crowns are in time.



Season’s Fleetings

snowdrop christmas card


Season’s Fleetings

How can the Midwinter feast be here,
So far from the middle of Winter,
When Autumn’s leaves are barely down,
And frost has yet to hit the town ?
How can the shortest day be near
So far from the chill of Winter ?
We feast on pudding by the wedge
Before we’ve eaten up our veg.
But wait…the snowdrops soon appear
In what was once still Winter –
If Advent sees the last of Fall,
Then Burns Night sees the Springtime call.



A Norse Discourse



A Norse Discourse

What shall we get for London, Ingrid,
Now that the Yuletide’s near ?
What shall we get for London, Ingrid ?
We’re almost out of year.

What do they want in London, Ingmar,
The city that has it all ?
What do they need in London, Ingmar ?
Can’t we give them a call ?

We want it to be a surprise, dear Ingrid,
We want it to impress.
We want to surprise old London, Ingrid,
We don’t want them to guess.

What did we get them last year, Ingmar ?
What did we get them then ?
What did we think of last year, Ingmar,
And can’t we get that agen ?

Last year we gave them a pine-tree, Ingrid,
Last year we gave them a spruce.
They’re surely expecting a pine-tree, Ingrid,
We can’t this year, by deuce !

But surely they loved our pine-tree, Ingmar,
Surely they loved our spruce ?
And won’t they need a new tree, Ingmar ?
It only has one use !

It’s true, they loved our pine-tree, Ingrid,
It’s true they loved it there.
They proudly placed our pine-tree, Ingrid,
In Trafalgar Square.

Then let’s give a tree to London, Ingmar,
A symbol of our rebirth.
Then let’s give a tree to London, Ingmar:
From Oslo – peace on Earth !