I’ve scrubbed the wooden table
and laid out her best green plates for you.
Soon we’ll taste the tomato-red pasta,
the bread dipped into olive oil, balsamic vinegar:
the clear and dark together.
But now, in the hour before dinner,
we take our wine into the garden
of my childhood, where everything is glistening
after a shower, the kind
that comes on suddenly in this county.
Sunset diffuses vague light
over the familiar hills and dull bogland,
into raindrops rolled like glass beads
on soft lamb’s-ears by the parsley. In a minute
I’ll cut some basil for us, bending to the wet,
fresh leaves in the herb garden bordered
by little flagstone paths. In its centre
grows my namesake, a yellow rose
that my mother planted when I turned fifteen.
It still blooms every summer:
one useless, beautiful thing among
the practical, the nourishing
that will come to our kitchen, to our plates.
Listen to this poem: