Neat rows of aging planted palms
and eucalypts that chose their own domain
lead on to mansions that surround
bonsai cathedrals rising on the weeds.
They group with their own kind,
stand aloof, avoid the snaking moats
and sandstone fingers once erect,
now slouching, season-gnarled.
The ledgers of polished black granite,
aligned, as if by the sun,
follow its course, reflect on passing
and each, with numbers in gold,
proclaims the year of Creation.
A tower, pointing to Heaven,
its wispy smoke uncertain of the way,
throws shadows on hedges neatly clipped
around a fountain playing endless drivel
to roses: those roses amply fed and shielded
by walls of nooks too small for pigeons.
The terraces of texture brick are new:
in neatly ordered rows they form a town
and hide behind facades of stone
glossed to mirror the ones who pass.
Beneath their porticoes and hordes of cherubim
the past on porcelain return your gaze
and Grecian urns are oozing timeless spring:
the plastic bright, refuses to fade away.
Not far from there the marble fields
revert to lime, are low and barely seen
for natives and the feral offspring shoots
of gardens that now no one can recall.
Tucked in the corner by the railway yard
a group of stones much older than the rest,
once shielded by a thicket, now exposed,
is crumbling since they cleared away the trees.
The natural and the naturalised,
with those possessed and dispossessed,
are fully integrated now -
a million names in stone for all to see -
and two in me.