A Garden of England without its gardeners.
Fruit grows feral in the hedgerow,
where did the people go?
(World wars took some, the gold-paved cities others.)
The London train, late summer, carries few hop-pickers;
There’s not a seat for them, amongst commuters,
Sky-high poles laid low.
The coppice is still, it’s seen the woodman’s axe retire,
Extinguished the charcoal kilns soft glow,
Where did the butterflies go?
(Say their names; fritillary, emperor, admiral, gatekeeper)
In the meadow, late summer, a few browns flutter;
A marbled white and up on high, skylark stutter,
Hay-grass cut low.
But there are gardens here –
Gardens within a garden
Where roses forbid the heart to harden,
And tradition is held close and dear.
Where bees hum in a warm brick wall
And remind us: we haven’t lost it all.