Here at number 16 prickle plants mole through the soil
Then strike upwards at a child’s bare sole. Cleaver weed
and forget me not seeds cling to socks and colonise.
Ants, like yeasts, foam up between paving stones.
Clematis, passionfruit, jasmine, honeysuckle
Grope and choke demure and labelled hybrids.
For just a few days I fed the neighbours’ cat,
Checked their letter box and watered their garden,
Roses, sweet peas, heliotrope, lavender,
In a perfect haven where hellebores, stocks
carnations, hydrangeas, flaunt, flutter,
compose themselves as though for a photograph.
I see their garden as an art gallery painting.
I walk up to it, not too close, stop, stand.
Rock back a little, jaw slack, peer, in awe.
Then walk on, knees and head slightly bent, fingers curled
As though a reference leaflet, not the mail, dangles from my hand:
Rose, Albertine, Old English climber. Hardy.
How do they do it? I marvel. Mignonette pansy primula.
I do not know. And perhaps it is my not knowing
That clothes their garden in the beauty of mystery.