Poem ‘The Poppy Murders’

The Poppy Murders

They have gone,
all the poppies. Gone.
Please, don’t look at me like that,
it was none of my doing and

besides, there’s too many seeds.
You would have to sift the soil
to find them all, believe me,
and you know I’m not that patient.

It’s not that I hate them, who would?
So delicate and bright,
like bloodied tissue, though
they did rather crowd the lavender

last year you must admit,
sort of snuffed it out if I recall.
In the end, with a heavy heart
I had to dig it out, remember?

So, yes, maybe I did strip them back,
(just a touch, with a scythe),
merely to protect, you understand,
that last remaining lavender bush.

And after all, we should be satisfied
that the poppy grows wild
almost anywhere. Except here.
Not anymore.

image and poem © copyright dfbarker 2012
**poem first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com
* image is sketch in oil

*it’s so cold here I needed something to remind me of heat!

39 thoughts on “Poem ‘The Poppy Murders’

  1. good to read of bright red poppies with the biting cold at the moment…bloodied tissue…love that… and glad you almost can’t kill them…they pop up again and again…smiles… did you see that you’re one of the winners of the page turn competition..? we have a post up at dVerse..smiles


  2. Thank you! Well, although I’ve been writing all my life, I’ve only recently taken it more seriously – so perhaps we’re both beginners! I’m grateful to you.


  3. Yes, thank you for your comments Claudia, I appreciate it. Yes, I did see and thought I left a comment.? I will repeat that I am very grateful to yourselves for giving this opportunity. You are so kind and helpful, Claudia, and a joy to know. Your poetry is like a light going on every time I read it. Thank you so much.


  4. I love this, David – the almost apologetic explanation, with a touch of humor:

    “So, yes, maybe I did strip them back,
    (just a touch, with a scythe),”

    made me smile! And then there is the tenderness for wanting to save the lavender plant. I love poppies AND lavender, and can see the dilemma here. A delightful poem to read in the middle of February. 🙂


  5. Hi. I like the painting; the cats are in motion, the one in the lower part of the painting gathering herself for a pounce! Your poem is sad, and I like the last line and the sifting of the soil to find all the seeds. Jane


  6. What a beautiful oil painting David stories peeking out of those bushes…lovely poetry
    your painting reminded me of a beauty I read some where
    “Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare,
    And left the flushed print in a poppy there.”


  7. This is a terrific poem David and it made me smile too!

    I have never had any success growing poppies! I don’t know why. They just refuse to oblige, apart from a few yellow ones in the cracks of the paving flags – but thy are lovely too! I wouldn’t say anything against them! (Unless they aren’t poppies? They look like them).

    And the detail of the cats in your painting is fabulous!



  8. Thank you Christine, hope you are well. Yes, I did use a bit of licence here but it is true, one year, that the poppies overcrowded the lavender. And I’m not ashamed to say that I like lavender, not many blokes would admit that! The cats very much liked the poppies. Take care and thank you very much.


  9. I am well, thank you David, though I fell again yesterday!!!! Inside too! Caught my toe on the corner of a footstool. I could make a joke about taking more water with it but being a recovering alcoholic … LOL:)



  10. Killing the poppy to save the last of the lavendar–most intriguing symbolism and motifs here, DF. You are the master of this type of thing, I am finding. LOVE the painting including those two playful cats!


  11. Hi David

    What a lovely painting! And also the poem, I love it.
    We also have lavender and poppies and they do seem to take up a lot of space both but they are so beautiful in colour!

    We had people wanting to steal the poppies as it is forbidden to grow them in some countries lol. And one night someone indeed took some.

    Are those cats yours?


  12. Thank you! Yes, actually they are both lovely flowers aren’t they? The sight of the poppies and the smell of lavender. Yes, they are our two lunatic tom cats.


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