The White Garden

I’m going to rip out the iceberg roses,
the rocket whose sweetness,
after dark, attracts the moths,
the Madonna lilies and myrtle
and pale bleeding hearts;
inject the heat of marigolds
and blowsy orange poppies
and plant that rose as black
as a woman’s blood before it flows.
I’ll call a truce with aphids
and the choking fronds of creepers,
stop cutting back the nettles
and cleaning out the pond.
I’ll let the sycamore saplings grow
until they’re giants against the sun,
and leeches breed in damp places
among the leaves, and snakes thick
as a man’s arm infest the trees.
There’ll be no peace: the air
will be full of rustlings and cries.
And in the twilight of the underforest
I’ll be there, waiting for you
with my pipe and poison darts.

(from Birth of the Owl Butterflies, Picador, 1997)