Hydrangeas After Dark

for Ian Sansom


Where was it written that I

should measure my middle years

by the great blank flowering

of these pom-poms – uncanny

as domes in a village landscape –

whose advance has no warning

(one day a sprinkling of warts,

the next WE’RE HERE!!!),

that love water and pacify the night?

They’ve no smell; the bees

and other pollinators shun them;

even the cats, hardly particular,

pass by Snowglobia and take

their rank business elsewhere.


Don’t get the wrong idea.

This isn’t a plangent lyric

about possession of the instant,

bright fields and flying clouds.

It’s pointless. Something, something,

middle years: they’re pointless.

The drive-in absurdity’s palpable.

The good part is you don’t need a car

(lucky, in my case) or a screen:

Invasion of the Polyhedrons

is right here on my doorstep

all summer – and the yard’s packed,

I tell you. It’s a silent feature

bar the moth in your ear.