Through a crumbling archway, down broken steps, I find my secret garden, reclaimed by nature and transformed into an urban jungle. I don’t risk the path which leads to the house, empty windows, a collapsed swing, green with ivy, a doll’s head, empty eye sockets, poking out of the rubble. I sit instead, safe, I think, on the fifth step from the bottom to look at my rambling green beauty, disrupted by patches of lilac and red. Near the wall, scattered brambles, berries for the birds. I see decaying logs, luxury living space for woodlice and beetles which burrow deep to escape the restless wren foraging with its long, fine bill. Hear its high-pitched warble vibrate with power. Tiny bird, big voice. Is that a hiss that trails along braided, green vines that creep along the ground, tangle and interlace around stems which strain towards the sun? Each wants to be the victor. Shelter, food, moisture. Beasts, big, small and minute, twist and twine, push and shove, try to survive. One day, the machines came, busy, loud and thrashing to make room for (luxury) living space for some, who board cars and trains to a different urban jungle and need a place to rest their heads, as much as I, as much as the creatures and plants upon which I love to gaze. And now, I miss my secret garden.
Bethany stands in the town square. She knows she should not, she is lonely, but she feeds the pigeons crumbs of stale bread. A mass of soft grey, hints of mauve drop down, a crescendo of cooing, panic flapping of wings. Each bird wants to get a bigger share of the pie into their beak. There are too many of them, you say. They eat everything, damage walls with their droppings. Produce young in the thousands. But then, there are too many of us. We eat everything, damage everything, rivers, soils, forests. Produce young in the millions. Bethany, knows all this and yet, she is lonely, she would like grandchildren.
©2022 Doryn Herbst
All rights reserved
…originally a scientist in the water industry, Wales, now lives in Germany and is a deputy local councillor. Her writing considers the natural world but also darker themes of domestic violence and bullying. Doryn has poetry in eg. Fahmidan Journal, The Dirigible Balloon, CERASUS Magazine and Sledgehammer Literary Journal. She is a reviewer at Consilience science poetry journal.