Garlic

The back door faces north. The pail I left

in the rain has formed a hoop of dirty ice,

dry and hard as iron. The air’s a vice

that clamps the ribs and almost stops the breath.   

I’m planting garlic. Soil, forked over only

yesterday, is rigid now; the spade strikes

and sings aloud, as though I had hit stone.

With cold red fingers I tamp in the moonlike

cloves, carefully set them in fresh compost

from my heap, which, even in this freezing

season, is warm and sweet. I chop with my trowel

at lumps, trying to form a tilth; kneeling

in white rime I imagine summer’s tossed

lettuce, endives, capers ? vinegar, olive oil.

 

from Bradford & Beyond: a sonnet journal (Flambard, 1997), ? Gerard Benson 1997, used by permission of the author

Gerard Benson in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Explore Similar Poems

By similar tags

Close