Denise Bennett

Cabbage Patch
After the painting, Cabbage Field by
Edward King 1862 – 1951

I step out from the ward
into the quiet afternoon –
load my brush to paint
the thin, white, drum-skin sky
that stretches far away

to the house on the hill –
start to paint the cabbage field,
vegetables laid out in tight rows
like the hospital bedsteads,
so close, we scrabble up from the foot
to climb in. No space to pray.
By day, patients come
in their rough grey uniforms
to till the field, free
to take a daily dose of salty air.
Warmed by the sun,
buffeted by the wind, they sing.
Today surveyors tramp the site
in hi-vis jackets, hard hats,
with measuring sticks, theodolites,
clipboards – busy making plans
for executive houses.

Denise Bennett has an MA in creative writing and runs poetry workshops in community settings. She is a prize winning poet who is widely published and has three collections: Planting the Snow Queen and Parachute Silk by Oversteps Books and Water Chits by Indigo Dreams and is currently working on her fourth collection.