Recipe for Happiness

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Chipped nails choked with scraped grit.
Blisters swell unfelt, then burst;
a wet revelation on shaft of spade.

Weeds painstaking parted from precious roots,
left in bins to rot
and someday feed the plants whose food
they recently plotted to rob.

Working around worms whose blind cycles
play their part in our survival,
digesting, evacuating, aerating the earth.

Shrubs catching my hair,
tangling it, taking loose strands as souvenirs.
Thorns scratching, blood dripping as I squeeze
between close neighbours, secateurs
gripped tight in my hand.

Snip, snap;
sure of my skill, I amputate weak limbs, lending health
to good wood.

Chipped nails, burst blisters, tangles and scratches
might not sound like life in paradise
yet it is my recipe
for happiness.

©Jane Paterson Basil

21 thoughts on “Recipe for Happiness

    1. Thank you, Lynn. I’ve joined forces with a retired teacher, to tend the horrible garden outside our block. It’s full of ghastly, ill-fitting shrubs which I wasn’t brave enough to destroy. My friend – fortuitously – turns out to be a bit of an anarchist. Whoops – there goes another stringy fuchsia. Sadly, she holds no grudge against hydrangeas. I’m planning something halfway between aged-layperson’s-sterile-nightmare and a gardeners haven… but hydrangeas? Ugh…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m not a fan of mop head hydrangeas though something more airy, better for nature, such as hydrangea paniculata – less solid looking and actually have nectar in some of the flowers. It’s hard to destroy plants but sometimes, when they’re woody, old, leggy, it’s for the best. When I’ve done it in this new garden, I’ve just been excited at the thought of planting something new in its place 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Changing the subject, I see you’ve changed your photo whatsit thingummy. I like it… it looks good… professional… something you could use inside the covers of your books when some publisher has the good sense to take you on..

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Jane, nice to hear from you. Yeah, I lost some pics from a laptop update so when I needed a photo I didn’t have one handy, thought I should take a new one. It’a only been taken on my phone, sitting in our conservatory as Bristol is slowly submerged by Storm Dennis! And thank you – publication feels a long way off though. Never mind, the sun is kind of coming out :). Hope you’re all well x

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah. I couldn’t remember what the poem was about… thought it might be about Belgian chocolate cheesecake (Lidl, £2.99, cut it into 6 slices, put it in the freezer and only take out one slice at a time)… but no, it was about gardening.

      Liked by 1 person

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