Voices in a Late Summer Garden

Honeysuckle paints a pale sunset along the garden wall,
a tumbling clown, with its tendrils dangling down.

Above the constant buzz of pollen-coated
bees, I catch a cockeyed conversation.

­                    ‘Get down, you silly girl, you’ll get stuck!
­                    I can’t get up there to help you at my age.’

In my mind’s eye, I see a tanned child in straw hat
and dungarees, or an ageing tortoiseshell cat,

asleep among dappled branches,
dreaming of kittenhood.

­                    ‘And I won’t catch you if you tumble,
­                    my eyes aren’t what they used to be.’

I prop the stepladder against crumbling bricks,
anxious for the speaker and eager to see.

­                    ‘Scrumping at your age!
­                    You should be ashamed of yourself!’

From the top of the ladder, I discern,
an elderly woman, a wrinkled apple in my tree.

­                   ‘So sorry, I decided to bake an apple pie
­                   and got hooked on a branch.’

I poke a hand through coils of leaves
and scrape a forearm on barky trunk.

­                    ‘As you can see, I’m not so high.
­                   I should have put on some trousers.’

I unwind flowery cotton fabric from a catapult of twig,
admire her graceful feline leap

and her steady landing with a clutch
of dew-jewelled apples bouncing round her feet.

Kim M. Russell, 16th April 2018

Related image
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My response to The Poetry School NaPoWriMo prompt for Day Day 16: Voice

Today Ali is looking for poems based on voices, ideally dialogues, which  can be formal dialogues for two voices, like John Fuller’s ‘A Dialogue between Caliban and Ariel’, or we can present just half of the dialogue and leave the other half to the reader’s imagination, as in Kathryn Maris’s ‘Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books?’. He says we might like to present an overheard third-person dialogue as Sharon Olds’ does in her poem, ‘Voices’. Whatever weu choose to do, the key points are that we must include speech, and two or more people’s voices (even if one is just implied).

I decided to write something light-hearted for a sunny April morning, with a little bit of mythologye thrown in.

2 thoughts on “Voices in a Late Summer Garden

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