At the garden’s entangled frontier
It stands, amidst autumn ruin and rust
A silvery now landbound Nautilus,
Plateglass armour keeping snivelling grey
Battallions of cumulus at bay.

Inside forms a planet unto itself:
Here cold’s converted to tepid dew.
Blooms unwithered, last summer stays
As though refridgerated in reverse,
Muggily immune, conserved from time,

A clime of scented swelter. The roof conjures
Second heaven whence sound cascades.
Water-snakes uncoiling in their wake,
Botanists move beneath bamboo arcades
To regulate the ornamental day.

Buckets of loam, thermometered and weighed,
Await feeding to epicurean roots.
My head swoons and envisions insects.
Somewhere amidst the shadows an orchid pouts;
A hundred-hundred shoots begin to stir.

Dreamily the green explodes from earth-
plugged fuses, hatches suns, meteors, moons;
A herb poses as a crested bird.
Tiny cacti constellate my tread. Melons
Squat meditating on their own girth.

Doored tropics! Antipodes in miniature!
Down each lush aisle a retired missionary
Plants seeds of memory, then, week by week,
Watches them grow into jungle towers,
Turquoise-trumpeted, steamily crowned.

Four, five nods of its fire-bright bell and
The tigerplant chimes it’s time to go.
Outside, the flower cupped within my hand
Is a talisman to light the drizzle
And busride home, an eye onto elsewhere.

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Opinionaters