Spear lily, I’m sorry I didn’t guard you better

after your gestation in the earthy border


from the hailstones of the summer storm

brewing all these weeks of heatwave-warmth


and the hands of my young sons,

who have the gentleness of children.


I have tied your broken necks to stakes

that I shoved into the soil too late,


probably piercing your hearts; all the while

above the ground, your blooms unfurl.




I have gathered your flowers from the grass

and placed them in tear shaped vases.




When I was new-born my grandpa grew glads

and sold them, cut flowers, to England.


The regiments of bulbs that I remember

are the iris that they grew much later.


The gladioli were remembered like an in-joke

by the adults. I never knew if they were staked


or cut down before the flowers bloomed,

or if they were packed in too tight to swoon.


A growers’ greenhouse glass prevented against

thunderstorms and stalk-snapping gales.


I think my grandpa would have loved to see my

clumsy attempts at growing you, gladioli.



Naomi Marklew is a writer from Durham in the North East of England. She has recently had work appearing in Amethyst Review, -algia, streetcake magazine, Selcouth Station, Second Chance Lit and forthcoming in The Aesthetic Directory.