Poem of the week: Seed (for Greta Thunberg)

A new work by Pat Boran

Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

 

for Greta Thunberg

The bus station, Vilnius, late spring,

and downstairs, in the warren of small shops

among the soft drinks and cigarette machines,

the phone repairs and half-price trolley bag –

a glass-windowed kiosk selling seeds.

Seeds, and only seeds (who would have guessed)

in little paper packets on wire frames –

carrot, onion, lettuce, rocket, chive,

and pomegranate maybe, a bright array

of plants and flowers I struggle to recognise.

The clock ticking, my bus about to leave,

and still I cannot convince myself to move,

but stand there watching magic happening:

the young assistant, sat there all alone,

lost in the troubled waters of her screen,

suddenly now a figure out of myth,

charged with sitting still when all the world

is in constant random motion, incessant flux,

her mind attuned to patterns overlooked,

the longer cycles of a greater journey,

while headlong towards the departure gates we rush

through a leaf-storm of discarded ticket stubs.

Pat Boran’s most recent collection is Then Again (Dedalus Press)