Water Palaver In The Garden Poem by C Richard Miles

Water Palaver In The Garden

I’m getting worried by my neighbour, Ami, from next door,
Unless it is my fading eyesight that is getting much too poor,
For on several, late occasions, that go on for hours and hours,
She’s determined to amuse herself by shooting at the flowers.
I glanced out of my dining room, by chance, the other night;
It looked like Duke John Wayne reincarnated for a fight.
As I ducked below the firing line, I feared that, very soon
I’d find myself encountering a personal High Noon.

Had hallucinations gripped her, overdosed on chocolate bars,
So she wasn’t on this planet, but had sailed beyond the stars
To a weird, fantastic universe, where a tiger lily prowls
And she had to gun it down for fear of capture in its jowls?
For everything in her garden was rosy and seemed fine
And dandy; lions didn’t roar, not even at feeding thyme.
Did she fire at antirrhinums just for fear that they’d attack
As fire-breathing, armed snapdragons who’d violently snap back?

I’m sure the timid pansies wouldn’t round on her, in violet phlox,
For violence wouldn’t give their heartsease if they put her in the box
And the variegated laurel, though poisonous, isn’t hardy
Enough to do much damage, as late-flowering, it is too tardy.
I suppose she could get brained by blows from freshly falling conkers
But surely that would not have been why she was acting so bonkers
As she reached, fast, for the trigger to deliver final, fatal shots
At seedlings, sleeping in their beds or flopped in flowerpots.

Another seed of thought sprang up, as I began to think that its
’Cos she’s just received a call to the, soon-upcoming, Olympics
Where the team, a gunman short, need to find a cracking, brand-new crackshot
But that demented woman seemed as though she were a shot-through crackpot
And my face went ashen as I looked at sights much sicker, more
Than sweet William Tell attempting shooting at those apples by the score,
When Ami changed direction and aimed at the ivy bushes,
Which made my heart beat quicker than it usually rushes.

I’ve heard of madder, when the Queen had white roses painted red,
In the storybook by Lewis Carroll, in that royal flowerbed
But it seemed as if my neighbour’s acts were simply hard to understand:
Had she gone off and wandered off into a private wonderland?
I reflected for a moment, as I was looking through the glass,
On the strange events that now before my wide-open eyes did pass,
I never think I ever will encounter, or clock sights any more shocking,
Than happened in that rockery, so small, you’d never jab a wok in.

Did she declare that spades and forks would club up, play their joker
And make her die, mourned by sweethearts, though ’twere hard to choke her?
What was she stalking with her prized, precisely pointed pistol?
Did she intend exterminating every stalk of dock and thistle?
Her aim was well directed and improved with every skilful shot
But I had some indications that she’d gone and lost the plot
As she started on the vegetables, which wouldn’t have a clue to
Lettuce know that they’d been unable to raise even a pea-shooter.

Or load a spud-gun, though perhaps they could have hired some marrows
And shot her, as they lurked, amazed, by the corners of wheelbarrows.
I peeped, just for an instant, as she vaguely vanished round the shed
But, still scared that she’d forget-me-not and turn on me instead,
I tried to get my candid camera out to make a true, not flowery video
So if I were found dead on the ground, then everyone would know
But I was shattered that the battery was flat, so I could not record the fun
That seemed like a deadly dress rehearsal for “Ami, get your gun.”

Though they could have made some rushes, of the scene that I could see,
I’m sure no great director, like the giant Cubby Broccoli,
Could have done her actions justice, as she cut down each shoot,
Since they surely would have foundered in the mud, not taken root.
I wondered what had made her want to kill each pleasant plant:
Pretty potty were the only words for it, I naïvely, greenly grant.
I know her garden once assumed near jungle-like proportion
But I still didn’t see the point of blunt ballistics for precaution:

It wasn’t nearly high enough to hide a great bull, rushing round
The margins of the borders, though cows slipped on the ground.
I know nasturtiums nurture nasty natures if they’re slugged at
But, since I couldn’t prune those thoughts, which my conscience tugged at,
I made polite inquiries for the real reasons for her deeds:
It was that her friend, Wendy, had just planted shrubs and seeds
And the answer to the mystery was quite a cunning plan,
Since a hole had now appeared in her old, rusty watering can.

So, in her stunning scheme, a thorny flaw abundantly arose,
Not standard, but a hybrid, teemed from where, nobody knows,
The only thrifty solution that had bloomed inside her head
Was to fill a water pistol and then soak, not shoot plants dead
And her aim was re-hydration, not sudden, spiteful slaughter,
That she insisted on, that night, when they cried out for water
To save them from the awful fate, I finally clearly understood,
But whether shooting it at them is best, is still as clear as her blooming mud.

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