The digging

The warm pollen sits heavy
in the loam and the wet soil,
wet and furious green all over.
The infant watches with a child’s eye.

Laughter is all around;
the father idly sups, the mother digs,
the children work the barrow,
and the green is furious.

The old folk feel young for a short time.
Grandmother in her nice shoes,
now browned as the child’s brother laughs,
filling the buzz and the bustle.

A cat suns itself somewhere near, removed.
The sun is there for all.
They are all there for the sun
as the earthy work continues.

The child’s stubby legs hold him right
and his stubby arms fumble at the weeds.
‘It’s OK love, it’s OK.’
Ringlets shine as the planting goes on.

Warm pollen and wet soil
and the sun above, glaring…
eighteen months, give or take,
maybe more, maybe not…
Planes above and a brother’s laughter
fill the late spring
as the grandfather puffs his roll up.
Parents and grandparents watch the children,
a first garden is dug for a first home.

They all dig the garden over,
digging and more digging,
ready perhaps a water fight to
            round off the day.

They move from the house,
one day soon or maybe not,
though the grandad keeps to puffing
and the grandmother keeps her shoes browned.

J. D. Dixon is a London-born, Glasgow-based novelist, poet and playwright. His debut novel, The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle (Thistle, 2017) was shortlisted for the Somerset Maugham Award (2018) by the Society of Authors, among other accolades. The judges called it ‘powerful and brutal’, whilst The IndieView labelled it ‘lyrical and haunting.’

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