I’ve never really understood you
Or known what you might want
You just sit there year after year, implacably the same
Never growing or shrinking
Your pale green flesh all sheeny shiny
Bristling with hairs and spikes
A defensive exterior
Always showing to the world

But do you have a tender side to your prickly nature?
Is there a more succulent inner plant
That is cool and moist, sweet and gentle
Wet and watery
That you reveal to your very closest friends?

I confess I don’t know how to love you
When you just stare straight back at me
No signal of your feelings, nor flower of happiness
You give me so little response
That I often wonder
What it is that you are waiting for

To me, you seem so undemanding
As if you do not even need me
I cannot comprehend your desires
Sitting in your arid pot and saucer
Happy in your desert dryness
Thriving on my neglect

Illustration by Marion ElderPoet: Andy Fawthrop
Illustrated by Marion Elder

This poem was Commended in The Poems Please Me Prize 2015

Andy has spent a longish lifetime involved in guerrilla warfare with poetry, often sniping from the hillsides, and occasionally getting lucky by hitting the target. He lives in Wiltshire, with his partner and an independently-minded cat, where he grows vegetables and writes poetry and short stories.

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Enjoy other illustrations of this and all winning & commended poems in our eBook Red on Bone