He always leaves those crimson wild strawberries untouched.
Alone they watch unscathed the frantic perennial onslaughts
beneath serrated sage canopies. Bright fire-brick fruit;
could almost be taken for a poor man’s nettles, but produce
no bladed hair, pack no stinging venom to wound if clutched,
petite beetroot red, tongue taste-budded sweet, hardy wrought,
bent from tougher stuff, strewn out from strong foundations,
spread scattered, untamed pearl flower petals, fast and loose.
He battles thrusting choking brambles, spiked blackthorns,
creepered ivy invasions. Bayoneting blindly with toxic skewers,
they scale garden fence in noxious incursion, wave after wave
of peaked plunging descent, interminably breach his defences,
rally roundly broadleaf troops, hiss clarion calls over wort-horns,
throttle-smother with bindweed the one strawberry fewer.
And sick spiny leaves, sunken, shove up, crack concrete pave,
grind out heart shaped leaves, flower a gaudy toxic pretence,
brittle thistle bridgeheads in purple crowned lies, willow herb
false-over weeping for the jilted, fallen comrades in arms.
Thrashing the strimmer brutal scythes, in green blood bathes,
drips in mock screamery while they survive in perpetual offense.
But see here, in retreated defeat, besieged yet quiet in calm,