Today I plucked husky, bud forms from what short weeks ago had been the blooming spike of a foxglove; it’s hot-pink velvet flower chambers irresistible to the low-thrumming bumble bees suckling their depths.

And I tipped numberless soft-brown grains into my palm, each one so tiny it could have been lost in the skin creases.

Haphazardly, one-handedly, I cleared the poor soil of neglected borders of root-map of ranunculus, new dead nettles, ground elder; each valuable, beautiful but domineering; and scattered hard-packed foxglove embryos into the dusty spaces.

Afterwards I stood outside the faded front door on the thinning square of blue-ish slate gravel, hot to the side of our tabby soaking the stored heat into her bones, and studied ragged pots. Daisy-shaped blooms I’d inexpertly planted, (how long ago? Last summer?) had surprised me with their vigour, pushing out brown and yellow tie-dyed eyes, good enough for any seventies upholstery.

Their ombred petals had dropped leaving fluffy spheres atop browning stalks. The earliest of these had grown the grey fluff of the elderly. I pulled it from their round heads and scattered the down-tailed plant blueprints in the same patches of cleared soil.

And again, God-like, I snapped off crinkled heads, gathered and sent out into the earth the packaged DNA of papery orange poppies and snowy-bloomed aquilegia with a sweeping arc of my hand.

~ Polly Oliver 2020

(Not so much poetry, maybe ‘poetic prose’? Thanks for reading, Polly)

Garden I

Close by the summerhouse door,
Bees busy on an obelisk
of tiny blue blooms –
survival’s not for slackers –
Jackdaws bicker,
flustering their rooftop politics.

Damp in the hem of the breeze
that brushes shell shards
of wind chimes pinned long ago
to painted wooden eaves.
Honeysuckle breathes out
it’s sweet portent of evening.


~ Polly Oliver 2020

Short forms

I’m still not writing well, or even at all, so I forced my hand to try some short poetry forms. Here’s a haiku and a cinquain.


Like wildflowers

Memories bloom suddenly,

Unruly and sweet.




In a blue bowl,

Skins plump with bloody juice.

Temptation encapsulated.

I bite.


~Polly Oliver 2020




A reminder

You are not your job, your spouse,
your school, your house,
Not family nor passions.
Not your body, nor your face,
Not your postcode, nor age
Not passing successions
Of storms and clear skies.

In the spaces and the breaths you’re there.
In the flash of existence shared
By a stranger’s smile as you pass.
You’re the puddle of winter moonlight
Flecking ink-black sea with silver-white.
In the births and deaths of faraway stars. 

You’re children’s laughter on a warm breeze 

The rushfrush of blood in yourears at night,

You’re in the hymning of the trees.


On a perch of dark rock
Eyes upon the sea.
I watched you poised likewise
Sea raven, onyx-backed sculpture.
My Jurassic reflection
Across the slow-swirling bay.

Only you –
Spear-faced talisman –
Had power to dive or fly
Three realms at your griffin feet.

Crunch of pebbles at the end
Of my scrambling descent.
Clumsy in just one dimension
And I looked again.

Just a mercury skin ripple
Beneath where you’d been.


Polly Oliver ~January 2020


Cocoon. Then move through.
Choose your green-veined awning.
Bind to stiff xylem your dun hideout.
Hunker down, drapes drawn.

Unplug. Slice though wires.

Digest the old, dream the new.
Imaginal cells spin in fertile dark.
To birth your imago,
Nourished in compost of what’s past.

Shake the ash from your wings.

Polly Oliver ~2019

Picture Credit: Christy Rice from Pexels