At this time of year, there are lots of flower festivals all over the world. It’s been so hot here, the roses and Sweet Peas are glorious, as are the gladioli, those tall, statuesque flowers of lovely colours.
When I was a child, my mother, brothers and I would go into the pea fields to pick the garden peas. It was hot and dusty work and I would often sneak away and build a pea house out of the long pea straws. The lorry would come at 5.30 in the morning to take us to the pea fields and we would trail out to it, still sleepy from bed, to be bounced to our work.
The day we couldn’t smell the roses
It was almost cold,
And the flowers were standing around
Long green stems shining.
Men and women were putting those roses
Into a Catherine wheel of colour,
And in a far corner
Where there was cool shadow,
Children were pinning rosebuds
Into a cushion.
Yet still we couldn’t smell them.
But as we stood there
Eating our marmite sandwiches,
Sunshine suddenly leapt through the tall windows,
And as if someone had pressed a plunger
The whole room exploded
With warmth and scent and colour.
Then we could smell the roses.