The Lost Gardens of West Norwood

Spring has not been a great success

In the claylands of South London

Now daubed in dog shit fauvre

And splashes of sepsis yellow

May’s the cruellest month on record

Even the crows have lost interest

“We are now approaching Balham”

The recording announces

Without sympathy or respect

Weary sheds and flailing trellis

Early cabbage and sacks of woe

Spilling bottles to Streatham Hill

Where late commuters goggle eyed

Wait outraged as stranded salmon

The lost gardens of West Norwood

Buried many Edens deep in

A conspiracy of ivy

Yield the flotsam of summers past

Plastic chairs and cricket bats

The slow rusting barbeque

That carbon dates the happiness

Of a long divorced family

In the drizzle of Gypsy Hill

Pale mansions damp with memory

Dissolve gently as pain-killers

Into the moss-choked guttering

We shunt on to Crystal Palace

Twinned with Melancholia

A murder scene with brick arches

And ornamental dinosaurs

Behind the sweating café glass

A man holds his lover closer

Than a cello, breathing her hair

For the first bowed note of summer

While on we roll to London Bridge

Their kiss blooming deep within us

Highly commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition. Collected in the Templar Poetry Anthology “Peleton” 2013

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