This is what happens when a long winter, a grey spring and an idea that has lain dormant far too long all intersect. Oh, and reading a lot of Dylan Thomas. That can do it, too. I don’t do a lot of creative writing (and I certainly don’t consider myself a poet; rather, someone who sometimes writes things that don’t flow in paragraph form), but oh, I do love playing with words. I hope you enjoy.
The Grape Vines That Have Overtaken Our Lilacs
Where did they come from?
Those first tiny tendrils, so tender and charming,
a pleasing contrast, merrily
twining through the brighter green of the spring lilacs heavy with fragrant flower.
Demurely they paraded as civilized ivy.
Yet, they were deceptive, devious –
Seemingly overnight, suddenly overwhelming, no longer innocent,
now grasping, now engulfing,
greedily reaching ever up and through and tightly around
twining and twisting, building up layer upon layer
then cascading and clutching, reaching, racing
until the bushes, blossoms blown, became naught but silvery skeletal purchase.
Even then, they were not content, those vines.
Petite patterns of leaf and curl, harboring a modicum of latent grace
instead gave way to unfurling flat plates of leaf,
large, ungainly, choking to sunlight, to breeze, to charm
undappling even the gradients of green on which first they appeared.
Then outward yet again the vines reached, riding the winds to touch the branches
of overhanging elm and ash
and grasp leafy limb with sticky whorl.
And we, who felt ourselves impotent before the onslaught,
could only stave off the upward forays,
surrendering our comfortable conformity –
abandoning the blithe bushes to verdant invasion.
Resigned at best, or perhaps in cowardly ambivalence
we clucked in feigned disapproval
even as we constructed a silvery structure of our own, strong and stable
to support the weight of the exotic trespasser
as it curled
and threw out new life over new life over all
until the world around receded from the lush and sequestered thicket –
not even the city’s lights intruding into the now rooted domain.
Even as we bemoan the loss of the lovely lilacs and their heady blooms
inwardly, in secret
we are pleased that our apathy has some sort of excuse.
There is now a place to hide from the world.
We call it an “arbor”.
From that which we built, deep into and under what is now a thick canopy of vines,
we hang a wrought iron swing as if there had been a choice made,
as if it were intentional.
As if it weren’t a simple case of acquiescence.
We slip away, separately, and take turns sequestering ourselves in the dense foliage.
It seems fitting to trade beauty for shadow
as we watch our lives circle in on themselves
and strangle what was before.