It’s been a long Indian summer
and the hips are rotting on the beach rose.
I can almost taste their sour skins –
red balls of seeds glistening
like fiery cauldrons in the late September sun;
green tentacles dripping below.
I’m dreaming of exotic gentians,
But it’s the last of the flowering thistles
that stand before me
with their decadent helmets and feathers.
I think of Ellen Willmott
secretly scattering thistle seeds
in her neighbours’ gardens,
spreading pieces of herself – a legacy, to grow
and grow again when her body
is lowered to feed the earth
in a last great act of love.