This Vegetable Life by A.C. Clarke

true to its roots, beds in for the duration.
Bees skim from flower to flower:
a marrow keeps its patch. When summer

packs her bags, swallows book flights back home
but chives head for the bunker
while runner beans die at their posts.

Winter cabbages and onions
sit out the frosts, carrots bulk up their strength
ready for next year. Unsung heroes all

footsoldiers drilled in rows or athletes
trained to climb where they stand.
All weeded out if sick, fed and watered

only while it suits till their time is up.
Then it's the knife, the quartering
of helpless flesh, the boiling alive.


A C Clarke is a poet living in Glasgow who has won a number of prizes over the years and been widely published in anthologies and magazines. Her fifth full collection, A Troubling Woman (Oversteps Books), came out in 2017. She was one of four joint winners in the Cinnamon Press 2017 poetry pamphlet competition with War Baby, which was published in January 2018. She has worked with the poets Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton on a series of poems in Gaelic, Scots and English, her own contribution being in English. A second collection of these poems is due out in 2019.

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