Turning from Sink or Stove


Turning from stove or sink, I raise my eyes,
Look through the kitchen window – terrace, drive,
The washing line, our old grey wall – and gaze
At lavender, an olive-tree and lovage.


Why do I love them? Purple lavender
And lovage green – and tall as hollyhocks,
The olive in its pot: three southern plants –
Thick lavender, young olive-tree and lovage.


I like their usefulness – scent, oil and flavour
For stews or salad. And I like their looks –
Bee-ridden, grey-green, with abundant seeds:
The lavender, the olive-tree and lovage.


They teach me patience – and they teach me hope.
Year after year returning and reviving –
New stems, new leaves, new seed-heads, life renewed
In lavender, my olive-tree and lovage.


I fling a bowl of water at their roots.
Then sniff the lavender and turn the olive-pot,
Pick lovage leaves for taste, give silent thanks
For lavender, for olive-trees and lovage.