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  • Martha Charles

My Husband Takes It Out on the Pampas Grass

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

A response to Simon Armitage’s Chainsaw Versus the Pampas Grass

Simon’s in the garden again. All winter cooped up,

pacing the landing in threadbare socks, my husband allowed

the boredom to fester in his mind,

feeding his hankering to gain control, and in turn,

lose it entirely. And that bloody chainsaw! Rusted with the scars

from its last conquest.


The pampas grass with its spectacular feathers

and plumes. The pampas grass, a gift from my mother

whom he just can’t stand. A housewarming gift for a house that hasn’t felt warmth

or light in over ten years. A taunting monument to the life he promised,

of footstools and cushions with tufts. Being waited on hand

and foot. A dream as dead as last year’s cuttings!

In typical Simon theatrics, he thrusts out his hands, preparing to

crack his knuckles. I wince, even though my vantage point shields me from hearing

that awful arthritic click. What I can’t avoid is the chainsaw’s ravenous moans.

It spits and splutters, pleading to be lowered towards the trembling stalks,

gurgling with delight as it’s spinning jaws edge closer and closer to my

magnificent grass. Overkill. I hope he realises how ridiculous he looks.


An hour has passed and I truly think Simon has gone mad.

It finally happened, and all it took was a stubborn patch of pampas. Pathetic!

My husband must be a mind reader, because suddenly he’s retaliating

with lighter fluid. This complete idiot is going to set fire to my garden, so

I start yelling, and of course, the pr*ck ignores me. He stares at the ground with a scowl

that would make most toddlers jealous, my beloved flora scorched thanks to his midlife rage.he Pampas Grass


Martha Charles



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