I’m puzzled by my loss of memory,
the sudden cull of my vocabulary.
Some words arrive unbidden –
like school friends you’d hoped you’d forgotten.
Others struggle to attach themselves
to what I can see or hear or think.
Things I know I’ve long valued and
long to name remain nameless, orphans.
Flowers mostly, more than people.
You can get away with not naming people:
their vanity will let the cat out of the bag
sooner or later –
but flowers are not vain: even the brightest
lack all boastfulness. I tour my garden,
struggling to put names to plants I’ve planted,
nursed through frost and draught, loved.
I stand before a bloom, willing it
to reveal its name, the common name that
friends know it by, let alone the Latin –
but there is no answer. Some do speak
or I imagine they do. The boastful rose is one,