Gently and with sorrow

I do that which must be done.

Ineluctable choices lie in wait

Their double binds gleaming and sharp

Ready to nip the toughest conscience.

A seedling. A snail.

And as I crush the delicate helix

Do I not punish it for my future crime

Of eating the lettuce?

Or, neglecting to crush it

Sacrifice a plant on its first step to Buddhahood?

Gently and with sorrow

Plucking a weedling,

The aborigine of this small plot,

That the seedling shall grow unmolested.

Editing Nature for my own benefit.

Priding myself on being ‘Organic’.

No harmful sprays,

No harsh chemicals,

No danger at all – except me!

Man-manipulating my environs

Gently and with sorrow.


And yet I beg you pause

Before dismissing such scrupulosity as idle.

And I will ask You

How YOU fare

In matters of greater moment.

And who, or what, have You crushed

To gain your lettuce.

And what indigenous ideas have you plucked out

To make way for the tender growth of your new notions.


Copyright © H. St. V.BEECHEY 1980