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Lawrence Wilson: a poem

Stony Ground

my vines grow best in stony ground, he tells me

not fed too much, just sun and rain

and a soil half-chalk, half-flint

between the rows of hand-sized leaves

honed secateurs gripped for summer pruning

I pause to listen, to sniff

sour-sweet, the ripening grapes

twists of birdsong and distant chuckling of chickens

a calm I could learn to touch

with just a little more time

I water only during times of drought, he says

so that their roots are forced to go down deep for moisture

a thirsty morning's lesson, the noonday sun

skewers of lamb and herbs grilled over the coals

salad greens fresh-picked this morning, the dew still on them

the fine vintage from three years back

a feast rooted in dry stones and long vegetable patience

try this new rosé, he urges me, try this sharp new white

the vines are only ten years old

and we’ve only picked them twice

my taste is fickle

I like them all

I'm so easily satisfied

but what is the ground telling me

about the struggle, the depth, the slow, steady climbing?

here is a single flint, lifted, rubbed, slipped into my pocket

golden-grey, polished by time

shall I pretend I hear it whisper?

I squeeze it hard and the sharp edge cuts my palm

bon appétit, my friend

we hope to see you at the harvest

take a bottle home with you

to help you remember today

my roots are shallow

I understand so much this afternoon

but – forgive me – I might forget it all by tomorrow

and forever misremember the ground where I picked up this stone

Lawrence Wilson’s fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in Albedo One, Agenda, GramaryeInk, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Stone, Root and Bone, Best of British, The Poetry of Roses, The Pocket Poetry Book of Marriage, The Pocket Poetry Book of CricketThe Darker Side of Love, on and in other journals and collections. His first two collections, The April Poems and Another April, are available on Amazon.

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