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GRANDFATHERS GARDEN

By Denise Hobbs

 

Grandfather drew,
Slowly,
On his
Senior service cigarette.
As we ran,
We three,
My cousins and me.
Through the garden,
Down row upon row 
Of bounty.
 
Cherry tomatos,
Dripping crimson red.
Crisp sweet green
Beans,
Lean and long,
'Snap!' When broken,
Crackle when chewed.
Fat pods of peas
That pop
Open
To reveal
Perfect pearls.
Frilly silverbeets,
Fluffy lettuces, 
Cut with a sharp knife
For tonights table.
 
We would scamper,
Bruised purple from
Mulberries.
Firing them at
Each other
Like paintballs.
 
Grandmother watches
From her 
Worn 
Wicker 
Chair.
We scuttle
up the Lychee tree. 
Fighting the Greenants 
For the fruit.
Squealing
And squawking
Like a gaggle of birds
Drawn 
To the sweetness.
Sucking the sugary white
Flesh 
From the husks.
 
The macadamias
Hang heavy.
Not yet ripe.
Ammunition,
For home made 
Slingshots.
Leaving their sting
And strawberry spot
When they hit
Their mark.
 
Grandfather urges us
To the chook house,
As the sun dips low.
The chatter
Of chickens, 
Disturbed by children 
Seeking eggs.
Rodney the rooster
Attacks,
Protecting his hens.
Fierce and flapping.
Clapping, 
Grandfather pushes him away,
With a warning, 
"You are not far
From the pot!"
Chickens and ducks
Batter their beaks
Against the feed trough.
Hustling,
Hassling,
Wrestling for position
They feed.
Afterwards,
Rodney has a sock
On his head;
To stop him crowing.
It didn’t.
Returned to roost
Rubinesque chickens
Broody and full, 
Cackle.
 
Grandmother calls
"Dinner!" 
Rising from her woven perch.
Making us run,
We three,
Children of the trees,
My cousins and me.
To wash our hands
of the days
Fantasies,
Gabbling
And scrabbling for places
At the table.
Babbling
About the garden.
Planning tomorrows
Adventures.

 

This poem was created during a workshop with New Shoots: Cairns Botanic Gardens

Go to New Shoots Public Submissions's profile to read more poems