7. Fetching Mint

This month, I had intended to write about the well dressings which

are currently appearing all around the village greens and roadsides

of the Peak. But the poem didn’t quite turn out like that. Instead,

after a visit to friends with beautiful gardens in Cressbrook and

elsewhere, I wrote a celebration of the living greenery that makes

our Peak landscape so lush and life-enhancing at this time of year.

As you will gather, I was feeling hungry at the time..

Fetching mint

I was sent for mint.

There was a small slow summer rain,

and distant oboes.

Loose heaps of cranesbill, humble at the door.

A mass of cream-pink roses,

fragrant to the point of love

and higher than the house.

Wood pigeons speaking in the orchard leaves,

take two cows, Taffy:

collared doves ooh ooh

amongst the not-yet-plums.

Geraniums gone mad. Potatoes thriving thickly,

strong as yeomen. Courgettes

soft and genital on damp earth banks

between the fervid lettuces.

Redcurrants hanging earring-like;

pink poppies in their beaded, hairy silk.

Foxgloves looking coyly at their toes

beneath the apple tree.

The witch-cries of a peacock in the rain,

a dirty cockerel crowing in a yard.

Unseen, the bumblebees

were massing for a raid.

I was sent for mint, and stepped back in

to find upholstery and oboes;

hopeful as the cat.