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Exotic interloper - for Ena

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Thereís a sunflower in my garden.
I didnít plant it, didnít sow it,
Didnít even know that it was there.
It dropped into the sodden earth from God knows where.

I welcomed the exotic stranger,
Tended it with love.
Fenced it round for its protection,
Expecting to affect the roots and shoots it spawned
To help them hold and mould themselves
Into the unwelcoming soil.

I talked to my visitor to make it feel at home
Imagined that its odd broad leaves
Would grow and thrive
And strive to reach the heavens.
Prayed that its tall stem
Would bend and sway in the prevailing winds.

The plant was brave and valiant.
It tried hard
To reach its full potential
In what turned out to be a saturating summer.
Each day it raised its face, expecting sunlight, approbation
But deluge dashed its hopes. It hung its head, dejected.

Nurturing alone wonít stop this flower from being stunted.
It needs real warmth to let it grow
Alongside rose
And blue hydrangea.
The climate must be right
Before it settles down among the older hybrids.

If the elements improve, the weather gods are kind,
One day my interloper will open wide
Its round brown face with yellow halo,
Then moving easily in a benign breeze,
It will blend with the whole ensemble
And perform a stately gavotte.

Joan O'Flynn