I first dabbled with poetry for a pleasant distraction from working twelve hour shifts as a plant fitter in the dangerous hard rock tunnels being cut out of the hillside for the North Bank Power Station at the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River from 1969-72. As if the fissured rock we were tunnelling through leading to deaths of colleagues wasn’t tough enough – the fact that the dam itself stretching 173 miles along the border between the warring nations of North and South Rhodesia brought extra friction to life including an unwanted introduction to landmines.
Current day life on the Isle of Luing is peaceful in comparison – most of the time – but the physical effort required to prepare the neglected garden at Bardrishaig for cultivation was going to be a real test for the old body.
Tatties Galore 2017 – a Poem.
Spring is viewed with trepidation – choose enough seed to feed a nation
Weeds in abundance get there first – thistles – docks – briars are the worst
Garden fork – spade – a mattock too – times when nettle stings turn air blue
Blackbirds – chaffinch – robins arrive – birdsong brings the garden alive
Weeds all gone – I’ve flattened the lumps – leave slate blackened soil without any humps
Cakebreads calling – seed potatoes stocked – fertiliser scattered – growing season unlocked
King Edwards – Kerr’s Pinks – Home Guards – names to thrill –
Marris Bards – Marris Peers – Golden Wonders fill each drill
In two weeks or three – green shoots appear – bring joy to a gardener full of good cheer
Earlies – Seconds – Main Crops all show – cover them up – bring out the hoe
Spend many a day the straight drills admiring – leafy shaws blot them out – flowers arriving
King Edwards crop first to the gardener’s surprise – Marris Bard by the bagfull are next to arrive
Knobbly Pinks – Marris Peers – Golden Wonders spill to borders
Dig tatties – fill baskets – bring chaos to order.