Sweet peas

To be as air alight or mouth acry, pink-throated to sing that the world
has already known itself to be swallowed whole

by a pinnate-winged sylph. We forgot, or never knew, our bedtime,
so we wait by white pickets for a dawn of sweet peas

and wonder whether there could ever be such a thing as morning.
In time a flight of chiffon swallows purply makes the summer;

already pea-green tendril veins are braided to the fence and flutterings
of Nelson blue, white pearl or painted lady,

while lipstick-pink in unabashed glamour counts them in and summer air
is radiant with sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus knows

there is no dawn that is not felt ripely in the pulse, nor can any daylight
hour be shifted from the skin).

What we can’t know / all we can know. Here and now the forgiveness
of sweet pea flowers. Seedpod

is a capsule of colour to live again by the time we have forgotten.
Yet I have seen the sweet pea still abloom in Autumn

rushing the cloud train clear to give the air a dew-fresh lick of paint
(meanwhile to know its still-bright colours by now to be

a swan song thrust from paling throats, somewhere becoming rain).
Still there is forgiveness, still a first-light buzz and bloom:

still Lathyrus meets us in the morning.

Caroline Anjali Ritchie is an Australian-born, London-dwelling writer and researcher. She is currently completing a PhD on the poetry and art of William Blake. Her poetry explores the relationship between language, nature, and the human mind, often with an emphasis on mental health.

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