A Garden Variety Hurt

I looked up what ivy was supposed to represent,

after we called the man with the poison

to clear the wooden fence panel right to the root.

This creeping plant,

that works its way between the cracks,

and closes its fist so slowly,

so quietly,

that you cannot see the brickwork break,

it’s supposed to represent friendship.

I thought about you then,

how I’d failed to see how deep you’d planted yourself

until the moment that you cracked me clean in half.

Like ivy, you keep coming back

no matter the cold or the drought,

there is no prying those tendrils loose,

no poison that will make this shadow of you wither.

I must live with the damage you have caused.

I must somehow learn how not to crumble.




  1. Wonderful, Carol! I love the back story, the imagery and the direct address – I felt completely immersed in your poem. Excellent lines:
    ‘This creeping plant,
    that works its way between the cracks,
    and closes its fist so slowly,
    so quietly,
    that you cannot see the brickwork break’
    ‘…I’d failed to see how deep you’d planted yourself
    until the moment that you cracked me clean in half’.


  2. I think this is one of my favourites of yours. That’s a terrible sentence, but you know what I mean. There’s some real menace there – that slowly closing fist, that shadow – all growing from that initial innocuous first line. It’s very well done.


  3. Bravo Carol! This is fabulous in its raw honesty. The metaphors work so well. I imagine the ivy sneaking its way into brickwork. So insidious- this plant. Love, love, love it!


    1. Ha k you Vivian. I always been told my honest poems are the better ones so I’ve been trying to write more of those. I sometimes feel like I’m just repeating myself however.


  4. Flowers can crack concrete, so your use of the broken heart is wonderful, way beyond apt. I, too, was hooked by the spooky silent fist.


    1. Thank you Glenn, I’m really glad you liked it. Beauty can hide all sorts of dangers. I almost picked deadly nightshade for the prompt but ivy stuck out in a way I could resist.


  5. How brave you are and must continue to be brave not to crumble under pressure ~ I enjoyed learning about the ivy and the damage it can do ~


  6. This is a powerful piece! I especially liked the lines:
    “how I’d failed to see how deeply you’d planted yourself
    until the moment you’d cracked me clean in half.”


  7. Oh, such toxicity in any kind of relationship can be so stifling. I like how you portrayed the other face of friendship – the ivy’s stronghold should be cut off in such cases. But there’s the damage which is already caused, that makes it so sad.


    1. In this case I was actually thinking about a friend who died really suddenly. I didn’t realise how much of an impact his loss would have and I’m still picking up the pieces two years on. It could very much be interpreted to mirror those friendships that aren’t really friendships at all but acts of cruelty from one person to another.


  8. That’s ivy, alright. Looks pretty, all the while having a strangle hold. And not being that nice at all. I like the lessons here. Very nicely done.



      1. Ha, ha. I’m about to go pull some down off the back of my mom’s house. I think it a relative of ivy though since it has beautiful red flower😊 It still makes me nervous though, it can ruin the brick’s pointing and cause leaks I hear.


        1. I can cause really bad damage to brickwork. Some heritage properties have massive issues with it. The stuff we used from our wedding was off the wall that didn’t get cleared on the farm.


  9. Two summers ago, professional gardners came and literally ripped all the beautiful ivy out that covered the walls of a nearby old brick parish hall….and the outer matching brick wall that “fenced in the garden yard” of this historical building. I suppose for the very reason you mention here….that it was affecting the brick….damaging the brick. I was so glad I’d taken some photos the fall before….contrasting that gorgeous blanket of green with the red/orange leaves of the massive tree inside the yard. Now it looks like naked red brick to me. Your poem — and shifting the idea of how the individual has latched into you like ivy, is such a powerful image. Unlike the ivy wrestled and poisoned away from the walls, the shadow of this individual remains. Wonderful response to the prompt!


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