Permitted Exercise, a poem by Linda McKenna

The waste ground behind the new builds
is being colonised, stealthily. Last week
a patch of clay dug over, then some posts
and string fenced off the neatest, shortest
drills imaginable, only enough potatoes
to feed one person for a matter of days.
Next an equally tiny plot for peas, beans
or lettuce, again a sparrow’s appetite.
Yesterday, a lean-to of mismatched planks
appeared. This morning a cock crew,
lonely, mournful, no hens yet.

The ground is between developments;
the builder waiting for money to clear,
water courses to be identified. By the time
the potatoes flower the tiny garden might
already be marked for clearing, the cock
and his harem evicted. Or maybe the money
never clears, the water courses prove
intractable. Perhaps this is all we can do;
plant doll’s gardens in poor soil, owned
by someone else, hope they cost its clearing
as a bad investment, let us go on harvesting.

Bio & Link
Linda McKenna’s debut collection, ‘In the Museum of Misremembered Things’ was published by Doire Press in March 2020. She lives in Downpatrick. She won the Seamus Heamey Award for New Writing in 2018.

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful Linda hope you are well

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