The Parable of the Mustard Seed



The Parable of the Mustard Seed

“The Kingdom of God is a mustard seed,
The leastest of all of the seeds of the earth,
From out which the greatest of herbs shall be freed,
With branches so stout for the birds to find berth.”

“But Master, are then not the seeds of the duckweed,
Or even the orchid, or poppy, or rue,
Yet ever more tiny, yet too they succeed ?
From dust on the breeze, so the wilderness grew.
Whyfore is mustard so sacred ?
If smallness is wanted, when all’s said and done,
Then surely the Kingdom of God should be second to none ?”

“Then look at the size of the mustard and poppy:
The former grows five times the height of the latter.
Within such a speck lies so giant a crop, see,
And we should remember that, next time we scatter.”

“But Master, if increase in size is so vital,
Then why not the mulberry, grapevine or cane ?
There surely are worthier plants for the title,
For look at the growth of the poplar and plane !
Whyfore is mustard so sacred  ?
The not-tallest herb from the not-smallest seed.
And surely the Kingdom of God is a tree, not a weed ?”

“But those other plants are not found in the garden;
Their seeds are but sown by the wind, not the hand.
And mustard grows tall and its branches will harden,
So even the nests of the birds can it stand.”

“But Master, the mustard grows tall in late summer,
And then, as an annual, each winter it dies.
When nesters are building, this plant’s still a comer,
And so till the fledglings have long filled the skies.
Whyfore is mustard so sacred ?
For any birds perching must cause it to shake.
But surely the Kingdom won’t tremble and quake ?
Why then make mustard so sacred ?
Here till the autumn, but dead in its wake.
But surely the Kingdom of God should not wither and break ?”







Is your backyard unkempt and scarred ?
Then call us to the scene !
Is your bare patch not up to scratch ?
We’ll turn your brown dirt green.
We’ve got the roots and seeds and shoots
And foliage to go.
We’ve got the blooms and shrubs and ’shrooms
To make your garden grow.
No need to dig to get ’em big,
No need to rake or delve.
With zero care, they’re ev’rywhere:
These plants just grow themselves !
We’ve dodder vines and thistle spines
And stickybuds galore;
To justify the docks nearby,
We’ve nettles by the score !
What’s cuddlier than buddleia,
And dandelion heads,
Or hairy sheathes of borage leaves
To feather-nest your beds ?
Our ivy cloaks, our bindweed chokes,
Our narcissus is black.
Forget-me-nots won’t be forgot,
They’ll keep on coming back.
So if your lawn is neat and shorn,
Too manicured and styled,
Then call the chums with seasick thumbs –
We’ll get it running wild !
If all that toil in clay-packed soil
Has left you lacking zest,
Then let us sow our vibrant show
Of nature at her best !



Unter den Linden

unter den linden


Unter den Linden

I was walking
Underneath the lindens,
Walking with my true love,
With Summer on the breeze.
We were walking
Walking in Berlin, then,
Walking two-by-two, love,
Underneath the trees.

I was walking
Underneath the lindens,
Walking with my true love,
Past the other fraus.
We were walking
In our finest linens
Walking two-by-two, love,
Underneath the boughs.

I was talking
Underneath the lindens,
Talking with my true love
About my life and times.
We were talking
Of how back in Swindon,
When walking two-by-two, love,
We’d be walking under limes.



The Hand Not Bitten

venus flytrap
Venus Fly Trap by Scott Bennett


The Hand Not Bitten

Is any insect brave enough
To pollinate the venus-flower,
Tempted never by the lure
Of nectar, rich upon the leaves ?
Is any insect sure enough
To find that small-white-petalled tower
Standing tall above those mauls
That punish tardy, wayward thieves ?
Is any insect smart enough
To find the pollen in the bower,
And to fly away again
And not be caged within those sheathes ?



Purple in May


campanula & green alkanet
Campanula by apalca & Green Alkanet by Paul Kirtley


Purple in May

Throat-wort over here and five-tongue over there,
Clinging to the brickwork,
When other weeds won’t dare.
Any scrap of dirt will do,
Waiting till the bulbs are through –
And suddenly, they’re ev’rywhere,
Ready with their reddy-blue.

Butterflies this side, bumblebees the other,
Ferrying the love-notes,
Each bloom to its lover.
And then the scatter-seeds will blow,
And where they land, so there they grow,
As next Spring will uncover,
By sprouting mauve and indigo.


Throat-wort is an old name for campanula (aka bellflower, but I always think of bellflowers as larger and grander).  Five-tongue is a literal translation of Pentaglottis, the genus name of green alaknet.  The truth is, I needed two-syllable names for both of them.



Scorpion Grass



Scorpion Grass

You gave me plugs for planting
In the ground beneath my plum –
A lover’s gift for growing,
And for shooing Winter glum.
Such blue and tiny flowers
In a little straggly scrum –
Just bed them in and off they go,
With any-colour thumb.
Yet year-on-year, these self-seed parts
Make up a spreading sum –
These almost-weeds, not worth the dig,
Are no chrysanthemum !
You gave me some forget-me-nots –
And later called me scum.
I’ve tried so hard to wipe the slate –
Yet ev’ry Spring, they come.


This poem was inspired by one by Dino Mahoney – I basically took his idea and added rhymes.





pink cherry blossoms selective focus photo
Photo by LilacDragonfly on



Some of them are white, of course,
Though all are pink round here.
They’re not the most impressive trees
Till all the blooms appear.
They blow their show in April,
All before their leaves take root –
Yet all of this confetti
Makes such neat and waxy fruit.