These people don’t just belong,
they are part of the landscape.
August Saturday, morning of the Show,
some at home polish their onions,
wash candled leeks, untangle
long whitened roots. Someone
polishes her jars of preserves,
others prepare the village hall,
trestle tables set back to back
to be loaded with summer’s bounty.
We are welcomed in, the room sings with flowers –
sweet peas, gladioli, bright dahlias;
cheerful faces and pompom balls.
The deeper, mellifluous tones of marrow,
root vegetables, fattened onions, peas.
An array of homemade cake,
the glint of bottles and jewelled jars,
dressed in flowery mobcaps or cellophane.
Quiet folk stand back, certain of their place
in this community, its sanctified ritual,
the harvest to be judged, this
their umpteenth horticultural show.
There is a feeling of church.
The cups will be presented at four, but first
we must squint to read the cards.
The same names crop up: Edgecombe,
Bowles, Buckingham, shy men of the parish.
The secret is Show Seed, that and preparing the ground.
You’ve got to be careful where leeks are concerned.
But the roses are my real passion, don’t miss them.
Had trouble with black spot, but sprayed early on.
Search for his name -perfumed posy, first prize.
Children leap in to see if they have won
the painting contest, the garden on a plate.
Some knitted things, laid out on cloth,
floral arrangements, paintings, decorated things.
Such a wealth of talent here in our village,
we should give ourselves a clap.