They have arranged themselves like show animals:
the tulips sleek, blood-colour;
the slightly fierce carnations;
the double-daffodils with green tongues.
You’d think they should have squirmed,
shrouded in tissue-paper to be delivered
when they are so immaculately groomed,
their stalks taut and strong enough
to stand up to most weathers.

They seem to have stretched since they arrived
and shifted a little bit
although I didn’t catch them in the act.
It would be good to keep this splendour
of reds and yellows forever
if they were not already clinically dead.

At least, I suppose they died when they were cut,
though not so you would notice. Maybe there was
just a little shudder in the petals
but decorously managed, comme it faut,
as if the point and purpose of the seedtime and
the harvest was this ornamental, posthumous début.

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