Twisted Lemon

Twisted Lemon

Twisted Lemon

Please release me
from my glazed

I’ve done my time
in this teacup excuse
for a residence.

There’s no room to move
my roots are convoluting
and indecently squeezing.

I’m over capacity
losing ferocity
my potential is capped.

Lacking in water supplies
gravely under fertilized
cracking up to boot.

I’m looking worn and weedy
the bugs are taking advantage.
I’m a twisted lemon with
the pot bound blues.

Set me free.

I’ll repay you generously
with flower, fruit and scent
and a thorny embrace.

34 thoughts on “Twisted Lemon

  1. HA HA HA HA. This describes about 100 potplants at our place! Have you been sneaking a look at the way we mistreat our plants? If you don’t report me to the Royal Soc for Prevention of Cruelty to Plants, then I won’t report you!


  2. It is a potplant or it is a very clever and well-worked image for a state of mind we all feel at times. Either way, brilliantly made. The poem itself feels tight and twisted, in its language and rhythm and especially in its form. Great work.

    1. A topiary of twistedness. I am always surprised when a poem I have written for one purpose, assumes another (must be subconscious talking) – it happens all the time. I am a fan of the holistic or whole of poem metaphor in poetry but often it happens unintentionally, so I take no credit (and if Val is listening, it is probably from an external source any-hows). Thank you Paul.

  3. I would gladly offer my garden but the choice would be being potted inside or free outside but freezing.
    Great poem, at every level.

  4. My sympathy is with the lemon. It has no choice and I do think, as Paul Squires hints, it is a metaphor for your situation so my sympathy (and admiration) is also with you.

  5. I have never read a better or more entertaining description of the sorry state of a lemon’s life predicament and as I’m a sourpuss at times, I agree with Mr. Squires, it applies to us all at one time or another. The last stanza was excellent!

  6. I am that lemon. I got the pot bound blues, Mama.
    You have described the sense of being constricted so well. I love that at the end, even if the lemon tree is set free, the reward will still be a thorny embrace. Take that inconstant gardener!

    1. Oh no, not you too – a little travel might be in order. I like the thorns at the end too – a little sting in the tail, a bit of revunger. Remember my gardening tweet about bay leaf trees and lemon trees – your tweet back was the inspiration for this poem Selma – thank you.

  7. i grew a lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet ha ha, i grew it from a seed that popped out of a sliced lemon – begging to be planted, it already had a thin green sprout. it grew into a tree, in successively larger pots until there weren’t any more bigger that i could find. i had it for fifteen years and it had wonderful blossoms and the last few seasons it made a handful or two of lemons, tiny ones. alas, it died a few years ago for the very reasons you describe, there was no pot big enough to handle it and it couldn’t go outside. it was huge and took up all the window space in the living room and got so wide i had to move the furniture to make more room for it, i still miss it
    great poem!

    1. That sounds like a fairy tale tipota – I can just visualise this giant lemon tree in your living room (you should do a painting of it) taking over everything, and a little you in the corner. In some countries they keep their lemon trees in giant pots and they wheel them inside for the winter.

  8. oh i wish i could have wheeled it out for the summer and wheeled it back in for the winter but it was three times wider than any of the doors. took lots of photos of it, will have to find them. that would be a great painting, thanks for the idea! yes, when i sat on my big favorite chair its leaves and branches were all around, i had to duck to sit down. what a marvelous tree it was!

  9. Yeah, that pot plant works as a great metaphor, and I also like this

    “I’ve done my time
    in this teacup excuse
    for a residence.”

    Because the idea of a teacup as a prison is great. It sent me into a tangent of being trapped in conversation over tea!

    1. Thanks Ashley. There is a lot of symbolism in tea, teacups, teapots and the whole tea experience and I know what you mean about being ‘trapped in conversation over tea’. I can feel another poem brewing.

  10. Love the line ‘teacup excuse for a residence’, such a great image of constraint. My pot plants have certainly had to thrive on neglect lately… must give them some loving this weekend!

  11. hi gabrielle,

    beautiful poem, i like the lushness of imagery here. a poem about plants is organically satisfying.

    all the best,

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