This is my garden; my apple tree
has over-reached itself. The branches,
weighed down with fruit, threaten to break.
If I had read the signs, thinned out when it was time,
the crop would be less heavy, the fruit less small.
And what there is, is damaged. If it’s not birds
it’s caterpillar, wasp, or earwig.
It will all be rotten soon. I don’t know why I bother.
This is my garden; this tree I sat in
and proclaimed my own when it was full of blossom
with war-cry love-call song.
Then mating, nesting, bringing up the brood.
The days were scarcely long enough, but that
was long ago. My children gone,
there’s time now for myself, time for a treat.
My yellow chisel bill breaks in the flesh
of these fine apples. Delicious. This is the life.
This is our garden – insects do not have time
for individuality. We built the colony, us lads,
chewed wood to make our paper nest, and now
we work to feed the grubs.
“Lads”, that is, using the word loosely – for us
gender is not important; that’s for the queen,
and, as it may be, the ones who service her,
none of our business.
But we need food too,
and if sustenance gives pleasure,
so much the better. When we find a fruit
where blackbird’s chisel bill has broken in,
we eat our way inside, till only skin and core
encase our private eating/drinking den.
So what if it’s fermenting? If we get tiddly,
and roll about, and buzz a drunken hum,
then who’s to care? And if they do, we’ll sting ’em.
Inspired by finding a completely hollow apple skin (with the core in place) under a tree in my garden, thoroughly cleaned out by wasps.