O Wildwood Bouquet!

O Wildwood Bouquet!
I'm going to round off this head of kale.
My trusty putty-knife can clip
nice, and clip again

till it resembles the big limes
that ache and dilly-dance
and lollop round the pick-up truck.

I'm going to round off this head of kale
and pack it sweet beside
the yellow slips that are my butter-breaths.

I can tie it all up sweet and neat
with a piece of soft wire
taken from the hood of Johnstone's big car.

And here I'll fasten on the dancing beads
that laced in old Medusa's hair
when she rode the speckled horse

into a Baptist town called Bunkie
and broke open a watermelon
with a little Bowie knife kept by her hip.

I'm going to slice and nip this curly kale
till it's good for giving you. 
Nice as when Lacy ran the length

of old Godiva Street
with her face bright red
because Archibald's sister had swallowed a nail.

I'll place it in a big posy of butter-breaths
like an ounce of gold.
Miss Shirley keeps these in a jar

by her grandson's door
and she can smell them at midnight,
even when it's cold. I'm going to pare this kale.
Cheryl Follon

from Dirty Looks (Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2010)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
Cheryl Follon

Cheryl Follon lives and works in Glasgow, and has three collections published by Bloodaxe. 

Read more about this poet
About O Wildwood Bouquet!

This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2010. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2010 was Jen Hadfield.

Editor's comment: 
Cheryl Follon's poems have the conviction and fluency of a satellite transmission. They don't so much end as pass below the horizon; a continual, compelling babble, for which I admire this poem highly. It's that apparent paradox that a poet only ever sounds so uncontrived when she has contrived to become fluent in her own language. A rare thing.

Author's note: 
I suppose 'O Wildwood Bouquet!' is a thank you poem to the street I used to live on in New Orleans. The heat played a big part in everyone’s lives and it brought everyone outdoors. My street was always busy. I think I wanted to create something playful and colourful; I hope it’s a thoughtful poem as well as one full of thanks and kindness.