Pruning the magnolia

The magnolia is spreading its arms
across the whole garden, juggling pink
goblets, reaching up to the roof.
It was supposed to be decorous,

a Chinese lady by the lake in pink
slippers. But it has loosed itself
from its moorings, taken ship
with a cargo of blooms, broad-leaved

and brash, colonising the delphiniums
and roses, snuffing out the red-hot pokers,
threatening to take over the garden

with a riotous party. So it has to be
pruned, clipped, curtailed,
trimmed like a poodle with a lavish pink bow.

John Daniel