I slipped out after the rain stopped
to walk by the river. Along its bank
the bushes tall, green-thickened,
arching a cathedral in the drenched air.
And blossom, purple tasseled pennants
smelling of faint honeysuckle.
The name lost.
But I remember you loved it,
waited every year for its long plumes to open,
waited for the butterflies.
Borage? No, that's blue.
And borage is for bees. Its furry grey-green leaves
belong in frosted glasses on a summer table.
Why didn't you garden anymore?
You used to love it so.
And this was your favourite.
You grew it by the gate - not skyward
like these - but pruned, tended, fat -
confettied in butterflies, bursting with life.
All gone now.
Like a prayer lost on the wind.
Sheila Templeton writes in both Scots and English. She grew up in Aberdeenshire, with a few years away in East Africa. She now lives in Glasgow.
Her work has been published in many anthologies, magazines and newspapers and read on Radio Scotland. She's won the McCash Scots Language Poetry Competition three times and also the Robert McLellan Poetry Competition; most recent collections are Owersettin (Tapsalteerie Press, 2016) and Gaitherin (Red Squirrel Press, 2016).
She says of Purple Like Borage "I was walking by our local river and mesmerised by the way the buddleia bushes had stretched up like arches. But I couldn't remember its name and I was desperate to remember, because it was my sister's favourite... and at that time she was dying. Eventually the poem emerged... an elegy for my sister. It's published in Gaitherin."
Sheila's website is www.sheilatempletonpoetry.com where details can be found of upcoming events.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Purple Like Borage © 2017 Sheila Templeton: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.