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