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Spring comes quickly in Aotearoa
like a magician’s trick:
one day, the garden huddles, shivering,
clutching a few wet leaves for modesty,
then an invisible
fairy godmother visits and
with a flip and a flourish
the magnolia is decked out like
some Disney princess and
the lawn drips with daffodils.

It snatches my breath away, every year,
but I can’t help a pang of longing
for the English garden’s shyer adornment:
pinning on a pearly snowdrop here and there
adding a crocus for colour, hesitating a while
before swishing out in all her finery.

The sudden shift in seasons
disorientates me: the garden’s
transfiguration reminds me
how far from my native soil
I have transplanted myself.

So, to restore balance,
I pick New Zealand flowers in springtime
and place them in an English vase.

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