Mother’s Garden

After Father died we didn’t have much
but Mother fed us well with bounty from her garden

Her energetic green thumb turned our humble plot of land
into her personal cornucopia of fruits and vegetables

At the front and on the sides we had fruits trees aplenty
Her rambutan trees in season would sag with sweet fruit
Year round their foliage gave us gentle shady respite
when we played shirtless in the scorching midday sun

A tall spreading mango tree gave us crisp tart fruit
for cooking or eating raw with a savoury dip
There were sweet brown chikus, glossy glistening starfruits
curvy combs of bananas and heavy pendulous papayas

Where the cold chain link fence embraced our tiny plot of land –
like a stretched out seine net – she grew feathery angle-bean creepers
crisp green beans and pebbly-skinned bitter gourds

The back yard bustled with glossy green pandanus
aromatic curry leaves, spicy red and green chillies
mottled dark green kafir lime, tall fragrant lemon grass
long spindly moringa pods, sweet menthol-scented mint
and deliciously sour belimbing for our curries

Mother spent endless hours in that garden
and the garden repaid her efforts many times over

In the end, despite all the fruits and vegetables it produced,
the garden that was Mother’s pride and joy
wasn’t the one that flourished on our plot of land –
It was the one she nurtured and sent out into the world



* Some names may be unfamiliar to the reader as these are Malaysian in origin