Purple flower bush once standing tall
Guardian of the entrance way,
Tended lovingly since small
In a bed of sandy clay.

Watched it spread each gentle youthful limb,
Watered oft, gave ample food,
Glorious colour ‘till the day was dim
Swaying gently in reflective mood.

Full mature and proud did stately stand,
Passers by paused to admire,
Shared its flowers with each eager hand
Ample flowers its prized attire.

Then one day the pausing gardener saw
Signs of death protruding there,
Wished he’d taken closer look before
At the limbs now dry and bare.

Parasitic vines had hidden been
Sucking life from healthy limb
Doing their destructive work unseen,
Former glory now turned dim.

Such is life for those who fail to see
Parasitic habits there,
Addictions that will never set you free
Leaving lifetime cross to bear.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014, all rights reserved”

NB: The above image is copyrighted to

14 thoughts on “Parasite

  1. Nice Poem sweet Ian it is a sad one though. I do not like to see any plants be taken over by something to end its life. Our neighbor has some vines that love to try to take over our fence every year and this poem was another reminder that I need to get busy on that vine very soon. It amazes me how sneaky unwanted plants can be and how fast growing they are compared to the plants we want in our gardens and yards. So true what the poem states about people and parasitic habits. Those habits are much like the unwanted plants, they sneak in and grab hold quickly. Hugs!


  2. Hi Ian;

    I loved your poem and the many levels at which it can be read – the best!. It is nice to see that it stimulated such an insightful and erudite discussion to which I, of course, add my two cents.

    Here in Austin, Texas we regard Bougainvillea as a “weed” which must NOT be permitted to get into one of our numerous green belts. By they way cutting them back doesn’t work as the roots are virulent and will send up new sprouts sturdier than ever. Austin also sees all trees as precious and all are protected by City Ordinance. Parasites, yes of course we have many although the insects are kept at bay by our urban bats of whom a couple of million live under Congress Avenue bridge where it crosses Town Lake.

    My little story of parasites relates to Monarch Butterflies who lay their eggs on the “Swan Bush”. When we were in New Zealand our hostess had noticed that wasps were laying their eggs on the Monarch larvae and so “rescued’ the healthy ones before contamination and kept them indoors, properly fed, in a bucket. When they formed chrysalises she placed each individually on a branch in her back bedroom. Each day we would go into the room to see which one had hatched into a butterfly for us to carefully escort outside.



    1. As usual you’ve given an interesting comment. Those wasps are nasty! I’ve watched as they inject a caterpillar to put it out of action then calmly carve it up alive to place in their mud nests for their young to eat when the eggs hatch. Bougainvillea as a weed? Wow! They sell it in the plant nurseries here. We have a couple of the midget variety that stay close to the ground but after your story will keep an eye on them.


  3. Hello Ian,

    It’s sad to see something nurtured to maturity, wrecked and withered – especially when it has given much joy to all.

    There’s a tall rainforest tree outside my third floor apartment – so tall that I can see it from my bed. I usually spend about 5 to 10 minutes every morning gazing and savouring its lush spread. Over the years, the tree became a meeting point for many feathered friends. What a riot of colours and tongues!

    One day, the local council people came with chain saws to cut away some branches. Evidently, a neighbour had complained about insects flying into his apartment – yes, that’s a Singaporean for you – no insects, ban them like they banned chewing gum!

    I called and protested that I enjoyed the birds and the bees. However, this was after the fact but the council people promised not to chainsaw ‘my’ tree again. The young man confessed that they had to do some superficial trimming to appease this unknown moron of a neighbour.

    When Lisa and I notice anything amiss with the trees outside our apartment, a call goes through and the council people turn up to ‘doctor’ the trees.

    You’re right, as parasites do take hold easily, especially in this wet damp environment.

    But your post can be a metaphor for people, relationships and societies too, I reckon.

    All good wishes,


    1. Before we had to do the rebuild of 800 Thomson Road to avoid that freehold being taken over by the government we had a mini jungle on the property I delighted to walk around and appreciate. Even had durian and jackfruit Eric. lol. Well its not that we were under imminent threat of a takeover but I was at least smart enough to know that with land scarcity and population pressure that would be the smart thing for the government to do to supply housing. So we entered into partnership with our friend Mr Lee the Hong Kong industrialist we’d done business with in HK which gave us the same area of modern facilities and the multi storey apartments you see there today plus lots of cash to reinvest. I tried to get our Southeast Asia divisional headquarters on Serangoon Road to do the same but they wouldn’t listen and my guess came true. They lost the freehold property and the chance to maximize investment. I love the way the Singapore government does care about keeping the country green and attractive. We need your Mr Lee to direct our government here and replace our incompetent politicians of the right and the left.


  4. this poem reminded me of when I first lived on Norfolk Island and had to clear back a bouganvillea which had sucked the life out of the Hibiscus it had clung to tenaciously. it was quite a job clearing it all and I hated to see the bouganvillea pulled down as it had been such a glorious plant in its time.


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