We've an astounding ability to compartmentalise and prioritise the things happening around us. I say this, noting my preoccupations over the last week or so.

It hasn't been Winston going with Labour or National. It hasn't been the escalation in the war of words between Trump and North Korean president, Kim Jong-un.

Nor has it been my reading of the latest climate change science.

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No, what's preoccupied me is spring. The blossoms on my apple and pear trees, the broad beans ready to pick, the lush green vibrancy of my garden beds as the potato plants take over, and seeing my children outside away from their screens. Oh joy!

I've made it through Winter again. Surfaced from a state of semi-hibernation.

August always proves the worst, by then winter has lost its novelty. I've fallen into a depressive slumber, too lazy to work outside or exercise.

And yet every year, to my surprise almost, it turns around. Energy returns. Saturdays see a whole list of jobs done outside. Depressive thoughts recede, and life seems easier again.

No wonder the seasons have been such an enduring metaphor for poets. Winter, summer, autumn, spring, they induce real psychological and physical changes.

We react instinctively. Our oneness with the rhythms of the natural world overcoming our technological defences.

At this time of year, working in the garden and seeing the rewards of your labour is immensely satisfying.

I still fear Trump and the system of power that backs him. I fear Winston's xenophobic side.

But there's also snails and white butterfly to worry about. At least I have some control over the pests in my garden.

There's no elections or political meetings needed to decide where I'm going to plant the corn this year or whether to bother with trying to grow aubergines again.

There's real pleasure in having this kind of autonomy and freedom.

We'd go mad if we weren't able to disengage from politics, from the shadow of nuclear confrontation, from dark thoughts about the future impacts of global warming.

In the long travails of human evolution, the genes that enable us to still sleep at night serve us well. There's a chance we'll awake to a sunny spring morning.

When poets have reached for metaphors to convey a sense of hope, it's to spring they've often turned.

The 19th century English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, reminds us, however, in his poem Spring, that it's not all daffodils and sweet smelling bluebells.

"Nothing is so beautiful as Spring," he writes, "When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush."

I can't help thinking, my thoughts returning to the political world, that any hope a Labour-Greens government might represent to many of us would be overwhelmed if an obnoxious weed were allowed too much space to grow.

Better to spend more time preparing the garden in the hope that a genuinely progressive government might have its chance in the sun.


■ Vaughan Gunson is a writer and poet interested in social justice and big issues facing the planet.