The plant on my desk has died.
A maidenhair fern, its bright, tender leaves
Have shrivelled and curled. I tried
To keep it alive, but no one believes
That I watered it (now and then)
And cared for it. No, they just sigh and assume
I’ve been slack and remiss. (Again.)
But now I’m beginning to think it’s the room.

The half-truths, occasional lie
And twisting of words it’s exposed to in here
Are enough to make any plant cry
Till its soil is dust. In this charged atmosphere
Of equivocation and doubt
What living thing would feel contented and grow?
Could be it’s just pointing out
A deeper malaise, something I ought to know

Before it’s too late. Maybe
Like the coalmine canary, its end is a sign
Of dangers that I can’t see –
Exposed to the screen glare, forever online.
But is the computer to blame?
Or is selling my soul by the hour the cause?
All I know is that I feel the same
But the remedy’s simple. Transplant me outdoors.


16 thoughts on “Inferno

  1. Hi Nick

    Again a lovely view into your daily life! Maybe working from the garden is an idea 🙂 if you can see the screen then, that is. (I find it impossible to work outside, but maybe I don’t have the right kind of laptop)

    Our living room, where I also write these days, has lots of plants and they all are doing well, but some need more light than others, they also seem to enjoy classical music so I am told and as my husband enjoys listening, they get plenty of that! A maidenhair fern… nice name 🙂

    • I’d be too distracted by the birds and plants and sunshine if I tried to work outside; I have enough trouble keeping my mind on the job when I’m indoors…

      I’ve heard that plants respond well to classical music, but I find I (usually) can’t work with music on. When I first went freelance, I was really looking forward to sitting at my desk with symphonies and operas playing all day long, so it was a real disappointment to discover, almost immediately, that I couldn’t concentrate and had to work in silence most of the time! It’s the same with poetry, actually; there’s very little music I can listen to while I’m writing. Shame.

      Maidenhair fern is a lovely name: mine is more like a bad-hair fern now. Looks like the maiden has been using her hairdryer too often. N.xx

  2. I don’t like to listen music while I work, but somehow, when I am writing, I hear everything but don’t listen of what is going on around me anyway. I suppose I do concentrate and entire conversations pass me lol. I decided that if Tsjechov could write on the kitchen table while his houshold went on around him, I should try to do it too. 🙂

    lol maibe it is a punk maiden?

    • Thanks Charles – I’m a serial killer of houseplants, and also a terrible gardener; a legacy of studying agriculture at university in the high-input-high-output days of the late 80s, perhaps! N.

  3. This is fabulous Nick and brought a huge smile to my face. :):)

    I have never been successful with maidenhair fern! And they are so appealing to look at too, quite calming in fact until the inevitable shrivel occurs., then they look like something from Hesicos ( a weird early science fiction thing from the 50s/60’s I think!).

    I am told they require a humid atmosphere – tried it – no difference! 🙂 Maybe our green fingers aren’t green enough? 🙂

    Christine xx

    • The other houseplants have started calling me The Angel of Death…what’s puzzling is that there’s another maidenhair fern in our bedroom, which is next door to and has the same aspect as my workroom, and it’s thriving. Wish I could say it’s due to the steamy atmosphere in there, but I’d be kidding myself. N.xx

  4. Love the last two lines especially – great message! (Although I can relate to your houseplant difficulties, too – I think I have a black thumb, must be all the ink, lol.) Well done, like this. 🙂

  5. Ethel just has to look at a plant to get it to grow, Nick. I plant a melon, and we can guarantee it will shrivel on the vine. We must be related.
    The doubts expressed in the poem have little enough substance, though you may not think so. Of course, poets and poetry are more important to me than to bankers, so, since I have only the greatest affection for your poetry, I have little doubt about who you are and what you are about. Anyone who can think in meter, and I suspect you do, understands the English language in a way that makes a banker’s understanding of numbers childlike and tending toward a doubt the banker cannot feel even if he is actually a human being–if bankers can ever be human beings.
    The last lines are exactly the Nick Moore I know through his poetry:
    …is the computer to blame?
    Or is selling my soul by the hour the cause?
    All I know is that I feel the same
    But the remedy’s simple. Transplant me outdoors.
    I am glad he brings his outdoors into the lines of his poems, and I believe that is the remedy to his bad moments, transplanting to the outdoors, but I’m glad he sits behind a flickering screen too. If he did not I would not be able to read his poetry as often as I do.

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