The Back Garden, no problem
A Thousand Reaching Arms of Jasmine Creeping
Haeri mai; welcome friends, any who enter
my front gate. Along the footpath
you will see
which are also known
as Lily of the Nile, yes,
they have engulfed the border against the fence line:
but it is the Jasmine creeping entwining over
and beneath their feet; who reaches out for the street.
It is she who has gained a highlight.
We must trim it. Cut it back from any further advancement.
Dear friends, Even as I go to check
Jasmine sweeps out one of a thousand arms.
I could say I fall for Jasmine. Of course, I do.
I almost tripped, my ankle grasped by this trailing footpath vestment
She has breathed new life, entwined around
the camellia, happy to strangle,
fresh after warm late summer/
early autumn rain.
But she, who is responsible
for an obnoxious compliance notice; the one,
so recently placed in my letter box by the City Environment officer.
“Clear your footpath. I will be back in two weeks,” he says.
Well, yes Sir I will do this in between writing poems.
Poems for Jasmine, camellias, oranges and lemons, cherry trees
and Irises. And dancing; dear friends,
when I have complied with the officers’ compliance
we will dance on my green lawn,
or maybe we will dance every morning at dawn
to ease the burden, not reminding ourselves
of this irreverent caution. But I suppose we cannot
let jasmine take over the world. Perhaps no cars
could travel down the street for jasmine, certainly
not old folks walking or children on tricycles.
We are coming into
our season the camellias claim.
Strong slender vines ramble through every branch;
sharp shiny green camellia leaves,
and smaller slim Jasmine leaves advertising prosperous growth for both.
Make a little room please; camellia and autumn roses whose thorns
are beautiful and have their own conversation.
I wait for the bright pink, brilliant many shades of red;
two variegated bushes pink/red/white,
a growing hedge of winter-flowering camellias.
With clipper and spade we shear away a tangle of wiry tendrils;
dear Jasmine, we are now in compliance.
The rude good health of lemon tree and orange. Cherry trees,
almost ready for their winter hibernation. Irises bulbs were split:
spread now their rigid leaves and make me want to sing for the spring
which we will welcome in the months ahead;
many winter months ahead.
Already the birds
give us a good report
They never tangle with Jasmine. So I find
myself dancing from tree to tree, communications
for the joy of a garden and a recent and ready safer entry;
no tendrils to hesitate our footpath stroll.
Dear friends, enter at my gate. You many
not smell Jasmine at every turn
but you will be dancing. Dancing
in the garden for camellias and birds.
Dear friends, enter at my gate. You too
may sing as you enter. Haeri mai. Everything is ka pai.
Benita H. Kape © 16.4.2017
* Haeri mai – welcome
* ka pai – all is good
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.