If I could choose to quietly slip away
and make my exit while your backs are turned
I’d do it now, why waste another day,
after my time is up and all my books are burned?
And yet the sun beats bright, and life is sweet
and there are countries yet I haven’t been
and children yet unborn I hoped to meet
before I go, and sights I’ve not yet seen
and maybe it’s too late to do these things
I should have done them sooner, there’s no doubt.
Regret’s a useless feeling old age brings,
better to live than rage and stamp and shout,
Make love the one true thing you have to give.
The dead are gone; the living can but live.


Garden Terminator

It’s war in the precinct and I’ve got a gun.
Anything that grows around here gets it.
I haven’t planted annuals for fun.
Dandelions and dock can just forget it.

They’ve got no business, nor has celandine
to run the place because I’ve not been here,
I didn’t give permission for their kind
to spread and multiply and interfere.

I’ll kill them all, with strimmer, Weedol, spade.
I’ll have the garden cleansed now, never fear.
Unnecessary plants should feel afraid.
Out of my way! I’ve got a patch to clear.

Zap! to the bindweed. Pow! to nettle shoots
groundsel and elder, chickweed, thistles, rye –
I’ll teach the couch grass where to stick its roots.
And when the earth is clean and bad weeds lie

upon the compost heap, roots to the sky,
they’ll think they’ve seen the last of my attack.
I’ve gone to get my supper. I’ll be back!


Mary is a member of the Keele Poets’ Group at Silverdale. She has won commendations and prizes this year and last for poetry. She also writes novels under her alias Valentine Williams. She is married with four sons and lives in an inconvenient cottage in Shropshire with a well under the floor and tries to stop the garden from getting into the house. She has an MA in Creative Writing.

These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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2 Responses

  1. poeteye

    “Zap! to the bindweed. Pow! to nettle shoots,” is such a heroic sounding line! I love it!

    I offer this in response to “Sonnet:”

    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    The past can be something for which we long
    because it’s the joys that we remember
    from back when we were young, healthy and strong,
    romance in blaze (that now seems more ember).

    Friends, easily won, were true companions
    who partied with us in celebration,
    while now our path is all mountains and canyons –
    hard journey taken in isolation.

    We fool ourselves with such comparison.
    Recollection is illusion. Although
    the best of them may already be gone,
    these are the good-old-days we’ll come to know.

    Let’s hope we won’t feel sorry once again
    that we didn’t appreciate them then.


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