Curved like a welder's torch,

they hold spring together.

Not satellites as I thought,

but tools which keep winter's

serrated edge away. Popped

up, they are periscopes

on the look out for an isolated

gang of frost or unexpected

snow. Treasure their bulbs,

they might be all you have left.






The chestnuts are soundproofed

rooms, safe from owl noises

and the street's nightly hubbub.

Shadows perch like birds


on their mahogany bodies

before running off into the dark.

No one chases after them. No one

cries in an empty front room.


The chestnuts are left like dresses

in a shop window, ready to be

tapped at in the morning by children

convinced of some hidden music.




A Sudden Spring


Wild daffodils appeared

like pop up shops

to distract us from the pandemic

turning our lives into shoeboxes.


All bright. All wearing shades

of Spring: yellow, white and yellow,

orange and yellow. Limited

stock to enjoy while the cold


was friendzoned and the temperature

rose until the need for thinner jackets

and sunglasses. Variety came

in abundance: small daffodils


like miniature lamps, larger flowers

sucking in the heat, others posing

for a thousand Instagram posts;

with the odd shy one hidden among


a belt of white and purple crocuses.

I can't say if the memory of the flowers

will last like a Polaroid or be kept

in a shoebox under the bed -


to be unopened until a sudden bang

jars the memory, flooding back the light.




The Phoenix Garden


Stacey Street, London


If the human eye increased its shutter

speed to 2000th of a second, it might

witness a light show of white and purple

crocuses blinking rapidly into existence,


a resident cat slipping back into a kitten;

the yellow smoke of Coronilla, pink

flares of Giant Viper's Bugloss resetting.

Wisteria's elegant velvet chasing the air.


The wrinkled lip of a discarded slice

of watermelon becoming edible. A pear

tree watching its fruit turning to juice

one minute, flowering again the next.


Frogs somersaulting into tadpoles

and vice-versa. A tartan red admiral

curling into the cigar of a chrysalis

after landing on a shasta daisy. Pity


the stone horse head seen in moody

Instagram posts; benches with witty

descriptions worn out by tourists

and office workers. Local residents


dismiss reports of adults screaming

in the garden at night, ignore rumours

of blurry children's shadows slipping

through the locked gates.


Christian Ward