Alan dreams 256 shades of green, hibernating
in his glass docking pod at the bottom of the garden.
Self-starting at sunrise, his solar panels slowly energise.
Recharged and updated with new kinds of seed,
66 brands of feed and non-toxic weed killers
plus the latest on invasive alien species.
Alan zips up his latex happy face
(with questioning eyebrows and a real pipe)
and his T-shirt declares ‘I love life’ (in bold font) for the Master.
After the BBC weather forecast, he initiates maintenance checks,
self-lubricates his cylinder, sharpens blades, tops up levels.
His friend, the virtual robin observes from a perch by the electric fence.
Alan has the same old routine every day,
downloading music while he works
(Tom Jones, The Green Green Grass of Home on repeat).
Perfect, straight lines along the wire perimeter,
perfect stripes overlapping by a centimetre, working left to right,
raking, aerating, weeding, feeding as he goes,
making perfect crisp edges around the lily pond.
Sometimes he hopes for showers so he can count
raindrops falling into the water, watch his reflection crumble,
ripple into concentric circles. Chaotic patterns
stir the surface calm, bubbles rise from the carp beneath,
flickering gold in the shadows.
Lydia Popowich is a writer and artist based in the Far North of Scotland. Her work has been published in anthologies and magazines including Northwords Now, Dream Catcher, Obsessed with Pipework and The Dalesman.
“This poem was written in response to a prompt from Suzannah Evans on Surviving the Future. It was a fun poem to write but also made me think about what makes us human and how strange it is that we seem to become emotionally attached to machines. I would so love to have an Alan in my garden!”