After Gardening…

Waking early next day,
My arms
Aren’t exactly burning,
But they seethe with the memory
Of unaccustomed action
And tingle in anticipation
Of doing more:
More straining, more leaning, more heaving the spade,
More feverish clod-crushing, sifting through soil
In relentless pursuit of
Recalcitrant remnants of virulent root;
More pruning and chopping and putting in bags,
And peering in old ones
To see if what’s in them will do as a mulch,
And humping them over and gleefully spreading
The contents:
Half rot and half twig – but it’s free, and it’s mine…;
More mowing, more tine-springing yanking at
Matted down lawn,
More vigorous sweeping of atrophied dirt,
And hosing and scouring and sweeping again.

All this is congealed in the flesh of my arms,
They remember, they lust,
And they give me no rest.

My legs
Have no consciousness in them but ache;
Containing new embryos
Of cramp
Lying nascent,
Ready to spring into
Riveting life.
One false move and I’m gripped.

So I lie dormant,
Attending the growth of respectable time
– For licence to go out
And do it again.

How long will it take me to learn
To restrain this frenetic compulsion to
Manhandle the earth –
And woman-handle it,

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