Now by Helen May Williams

Now Turks-head pumpkins

trail across wet concrete

their fruits still tiny


now there’s a heatwave

in Europe — even in a

freezer truckload of

so-called immigrants


now nasturtiums shed

their caper-substitute pods

before the first frost

wilts their peppery leaves


now father & daughter

cross so many borders

walking for days through —

serbian / croatian /

hungarian / german


now borage stems break

with an excess of blue

star-like flowers still

harbouring anxious bees


now she skips along track

through gap in razor-wire fence

carrying her teddy


now hardy orange,

gold & yellow marigolds

continue to bud, bloom &

set scimitar seeds


establishing their home

in this temperate Welsh plot

undeterred by westerly gales


now rumours from ahead

name it the death route / yet

father and daughter

still walk it into tear-gas /

hunger / thirst / opprobrium


now verbena, bay,

rosemary & thyme stay

in outdoors beds &

pray for mild winter months


now in searing heat

steel gates straddle carriageway

razor wire unfurls


now almond trees

shake in equinoctial breeze

yearning for the sharp

dry cold of the Pyrenees

only one generation away


now tear gas cannisters &

water cannon bombardments

target baby-carriers —

young men hurl rocks in return


now blight infects

outdoor tomatoes

(their name an indecipherable

smudge on greyed plant label)

before their fruits can ripen


and courgette flowers

slime their soft mildewed rot

on immature fruits


now is such a time

of arid silenced prayer

of forced bivouack

on fenced-in alien

hard-shoulder tarmack


now spring’s ebullient sowing

is a few scattered notes

in an abandoned

blue gardening journal


now babies are held out

and toddlers crawl

on no-man’s land appealing

to lines of frontier guards

in full riot gear


yet aquilegias

self-seed in neglected pots

and finally I have planted

home-grown bergamot


while in Hungary’s

humane corridor

human packages are

delivered swiftly

to their destination

2 thoughts on “Now by Helen May Williams

  1. Reblogged this on helenmaywilliams and commented:
    I wrote this poem to express my sense of unease: to counterpoint the compelling impact of media sensationalism with our uncanny ability to carry on as usual. It’s still happening and now in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, European politicians are hardening their attitudes to refugees.


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