'Will it grow?' I asked the man in Rassells,
hassled as he potted plants with thin cane.
'Grow?' he said,
humping bags of manure and rich brown peat.
'Give it sun and
it will take over the world.'
At home, at foot of my offending wall,
I potted it with cane and rich brown peat.
The sun shone.
My house is not the prettiest I've seen:
never mind 'world' -
just the front wall would do me.
At first it didn't grow at all, my plant,
despite the shining sun and rich brown peat.
The wall stayed bare. The sun went in. The cane
Then - pow! - it went bananas.
Grippers gripped. Suckers sucked. It hauled itself
onto the wall out of the rich brown peat.
it grew whether the sun was in or out.
A brick a day -
yes! - I used to measure it.
The trouble is, I never had a chance
to see if it would take over the world.
Or my wall.
One day, when it had nearly reached the roof,
I came home and -
shock! - I saw it looking limp.
The sun was out: the peat was richly brown.
Why was it falling from the wall in shrouds?
Then I saw:
it had been snipped. Someone had snipped the stem
an inch above
the peat. No wall now. No world.
I turned. I turned away from two year's growth.
I turned my back on sun and rich brown peat.
And my plant.
But last week the stubby inch grew a leaf.
I'll let you know
when it's nearly reached the roof.
5 May 1999