. Hedge Theory The hedge plants are trimmed by a gardener with shears As they have been, like clockwork, for twenty-five years. Yet they push out new shoots in continuing hope Of extending their reach through the fence on the slope; Protruding through uprights, with glossy new tips, Their ruby leaves follow, like sensuous lips; Curved in the middle and quivering so From the gentlest of breeze, as it moves down the row. When the gardener arrives, I expect the hedge moans: “Can’t you see that we’re covering ironwork bones? Softening edges gives purpose for hedges, And Nature gives pleasure wherever her edge is. “Borders are fitting for nations and states, The banks of a river, or dinnerware plates; But not for Photinia branches and stems, Or sweet-smelling flowers in white diadems. “The feature we share, let us not be mistaken, Is to never give up though our dreams are forsaken— When time and again every effort is met By failure to further our reach past regret. In fact, we have assets that few would suspect: An underground network, and time to reflect “On theory developed from close observation, A lifetime of fieldwork, and growing frustration; Which holds that our gardener grows brittle with age, And little by little, he’s reaching the stage Where lifting a cutter may shatter a limb— Soon he will discover the joke is on him!" . . David Watt is a writer from Canberra, the “Bush Capital” of Australia. He has contributed regularly to Collections of Poetry and Prose by Robin Barratt. When not working for IP (Intellectual Property) Australia, he finds time to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of traditional rhyming poetry.