A word for it

Fatheaded Lizzie’s an easy step from Fatshedera lizei
she’s green and glossy                  ……………bossy
shoving the shrub we call wee gelia to one side
wee gelia’s pink and white and like a wedding
aubrieta’s purple boils over the low walls
vivid    hot      we call her awe-bree-sha
then there’s Connie Easter           …………..my dad’s coinage
for a bush dull flowered but scarlet berried
Connie Easter          sprung from misread labels
and a gap                  where botanists had Latin

flowers have their given names from scientists
their common names from usages           .scents
or this-reminds- me-of         and other names again
from tongue slips                 skipped syllables blurred
on garden centre tags         half-heard allotment chat
grafted on to family language
you can keep cotoneaster                          .Connie Easter
keeps my father living in my garden

Jan Dean


About Jan Dean

This entry was posted in A poem a day for April and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A word for it

  1. Jan Dean says:

    This should have been posted last weekend, but I couldn’t complete it because I hadn’t worked out what it was about. Then today I read a poem by Ira Lightman and understood.

  2. Liz Brownlee says:

    Lovely. For me the Latin names always conjure up my mum – taking Em down to school one day she taught her the names of the plants on the way, and was astounded when Em recited them, Berberis, Escallonia, Cotoneaster on the way back. The Escallonia is still there and I remember each time I pass, she was so thrilled.

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