Thursday, 23 February 2017


I cross o’er the tracks
where once the trains
click-clacked along the lines,
until the coal ran out. 

And opposite where once
farmers loved the land and
miners toiled in earth below
now stands row on row of grand abodes
in a habitat forever spoiled.

And here live I behind these gates
that keep me in and others out,
and round the door and up the walls
the ivy creeps encircling windows while we sleep. 
And on these painted walls within, spiders spin their webs 
ensnare moth and fly who dare enter in, 
invade this place we call our own.

Outside in neatly tended beds  
flowers bob their brightly coloured heads
and on lush-green lawns manicured
so grass is just so-high, the weeds fight through
refuse to die and flower and seed and multiply,
bobbing yellow heads in a grand defiance of our fight.
And upon the once smart block-paved drive
Horsetail breaks through and forever thrives
nature forever fighting back. 

And here live I, surrendering,
giving my garden back to nature
from whence it came and still belongs
in this place we call suburbia.

Anna :o]

The above was inspired by d'Verse's Tuesday prompt in which Oloriel challenged us to write Suburban poetry.   Although visiting prompts here there and everywhere nothing nudged creative juices within the past two months, until now – so thanks Oloriel!  Nevertheless, I waited until thoughts jumped into my head, so Tuesday has now become Thursday, so I will enter here on OLN, today.  (I am not quite happy with my words so will probably continue tinkering with them)

My words are loosely based on where I live.  I live in an I-shaped street in which three points of the ‘I ‘are dead ends.  The name of the estate tells of its history of once farm land.  One end of the head of the‘I’ I live on is the entrance to the street, the other end being adjacent to a hilly meadow, a beautiful return of nature on spoil heaps echoing past mining history.

When we first moved here, nearly a quarter of a century ago, the front gardens were open plan, but across the years things have changed, walls have been built or fences erected, and we gate ourselves in, creating our own little castles.

Horsetail is indeed running rampant in my block-paved drive despite a long-waged war with it.  I realise I shall never win…  In my back garden – given over to nature, blackberry bushes thrive – they certainly weren’t here when we arrived, their existence courtesy of bird-droppings.   There is also a tree fifteen foot high that wasn’t there when we arrived here too, arriving in the seed of some wind.  I should have dealt with it earlier – but didn’t.     It is not fifteen foot from the house so must be felled.  A tree surgeon will be contacted and he must do his deed lest the foundations of the house be undermined.  I love nature but can’t give it my home.

Prior to moving to this coastal town, we lived in the concrete jungle of streets that surrounded a city centre – certainly not suburbia.   Sometimes I miss the vibrancy of these streets where life was lived with hearts outside, thumping the beats of reality, life lived in the open.  But that said. I enjoy my little life in the suburbs, enclosed in my little castle… I have a certain sense of peace here…

(Of my previous post in which I invited discussion – I apologise for not giving personal responses (which I intended to do) but sometimes real life gets in the way.  Apologies.)

PS  Of the trains that ran along the tracks near the head of my estate – they still do.  Mining is long dead here, so of the twenty or so wagons pulled – I don’t know what they carry or from whence they came.  Googling tells me the line is closed…strange…

Image:  Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons

Author:  Zorba the Geek


brudberg said...

I love that you let nature win... there is something so much better when a garden becomes a piece of land... I ceased to cut the grass and only use the scythe once per year...

Anonymous said...

train tracks are so poetic in their nature

Frank Hubeny said...

I like the lines "gift my garden back to nature
from whence it came and still belongs". The gift seems like a surrender.

Jane Dougherty said...

This is a truly lovely poem. I like the way it builds us, starts hesitantly with short lines and gets more confident. Nature taking over maybe.

Paul Dear said...

That dance with Nature is always a fine balance...and she always will win ;)

Toni Spencer said...

This reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years aback about the building of homes on a meadow. So sad, each of you in your own castles. It seems suburbia is spreading to the countryside. Soon there will be no country or even, no city left.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

A beautiful, beautiful waltz with nature your poem ❤️

indybev said...

Your words captured me and carried me along. So descriptive of us each in our private castles, occasionally nodding to our neighbors, yet staying separate. Sad somehow, isn't it? A wise old native American, Chief Seattle, said "At night, when the streets of your cities and villages shall be silent, and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land," I think of his words often when I gaze down my quiet street.

Glenn Buttkus said...

There are the who love to putter in their yards & gardens; it's like therapy for them, keeping in touch with nature. In the Pacific W where I live, blackberry bushes, scotch broom & moss are the adversaries. I love your poem, a worthy adjunct to Tuesday's prompt. Now that we're retired we pay a yard service to keep our grounds presentable. I live in a small town where everyone keeps good care of their yards, creating peer pressure.

Anonymous said...

the ivy creeps encircling windows while we sleep.... that line stood out for me...creating the image of posh suburbia and nature just doing what nature does..

Bryan Ens said...

I think ťhat, perhaps, we all win when we let nature win

Kim Russell said...

I love how your poem starts with memories of trains, farmland and mines as the speaker crosses the disused railway lines - we have them too, aren't they sad? - and then comes face to face with the 'row on row of grand abodes', as if woken from a pleasant daydream into stark reality. I love how the wild life covers the house and takes over in the neatly tended garden. I'm quite fond of horsetail - they have free rein in our little gravelled space for parking as they are so green. Up the weeds, I say!

Marina Sofia said...

I live in a close with fences and high bushes, but previously lived in a very similar close which was very open and the children would roam in and out of each other's gardens. No questions about which one I prefer, but it seems I am in a minority. I love the sense of history and continuity in your poem, and thank you for your additional explanations, a prose poem in itself.

ayala said...


grapeling said...

you paint a vivid picture ~

Scarlet said...

I really like the details Anna...let nature embrace and win it all ~ Thanks for joining us ~

Jenny Woolf said...

I hate to see crumbling interesting places becoming smart and suburban. Viva horsetail!

Martin said...

Lovely - one can "read the atmosphere" of this place. And I learned a new word: that "horsetail" does not always deal with riding : )