Spring 1987

By James Turner
A silent figure shifts along

Beneath a green and leafy bank,

With in his heart a dreary song

And on his back a plastic tank,

And sprinkles with a deadly rain

The weeds that grow beside the lane;
And in the passing poison shower

Wall pennywort and lords-and-ladies,

Nettle and goosegrass, leaf and flower,

Are chemically despatched to Hades:

Tomorrow any passer-by

May see them sicken, droop and die.
In line against a granite wall

Jack-by-the-hedge stand proud and straight,

But soon they’ll twist like corkscrews, all

In silent protest at their fate.

Our passerby will ask,

“Are these Not victims of some strange disease?
What will the Judge’s verdict be?

The Best-Kept Village contest comes!

In tubs and hanging baskets, see?

Petunias and geraniums:

That’s what the Judge will judge us on.

So, work that lever, silent one.

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