Panacea – by Peppy Scott

This poem by Kent & Sussex Poetry Society member, local poet and performer Peppy Scott was selected in our 2018 competition and published in Folio #72. @PeppyScott


Her garden holds a witch’s brew
of feverfew and valerian
Balms to calm delirium
Smiling heads of camomile
nodding off in unmade beds of weeds
Self-seeded adoptees, she tends to their needs
with the ministrations of a mother’s love
Guardian against tidy horticultural trends
she defends her semi-wild dispensary
Apothecary’s chest of restful cures
for the same cares as of old
but sold by new names now
She knows how to blend a decoction of verbena
Grandmother’s verbal guide to the herbal
Instilled in her, still fresh, eternal

Each warm afternoon
In the appled shade of the orchard’s glade
she will sit and knit and sip
a draught of her favoured remedy, the cure-all –
Soothing stimulant, healer of ill humours
Morning eyebright, evening nightshade
Companion in solitude, bringer-together of friends
Power in its ordinary subtlety – no blunt narcotic

Among her restorative recipes
this alone is not home-grown
Imported exotic scented with bergamot
Measured into its bone china pot
Hot-infused and timed with ceremony
to perfect its potency, hit the spot and energise the senses
Treasured lifter of the spirit: Camellia sinensis

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