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.

    Like

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