Flower Study

Flower Study (after a visit to Keats House, Hampstead Heath)

Insanity has no season,

it wears no mask of life or death,

but waits behind plate glass

among wedding silks and widow’s weeds

that burst with dreams and barge into memories,

leaving me with nothing but a sense of unease.


If I could lie beneath the sheets,

among the mint-cool muscles of his mattress,

feel that dark stem pulling me down

towards glades of sleep,

then I, too, could be half in love with life.


Instead I settle by the plum tree,

remembering the hum of sunrise,

the subtle tears of the crestfallen.


A gallery of flowers along a white-washed wall:

Corn Lilly, Harlequin, Primula, Chilli,

all utterly lost to the poet’s disease.


It is not just the old that cling to mementoes

(as though they have more to be mournful about),

I, too, am water-coloured,

a washed out version of my once-upon-a-self,

knowing what it’s like to be mad,

stripped of dignity, dancing on the Heath.


For in the silence of 4 a.m.

I listen to the song of daisies

singing from the field,

true to their word,

before turning to seed.


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