Working through my archives, posting some miscellaneous and occasional pieces.
In his garden with a start he hears
a rustle like the leaves of all the books
his heart can bear; and all he knows,
of which he speaks to all who care,
who love and marvel at his magistry:
a sheaf of corn, the insect’s life,
the wizardry in an old machine
and all the joy that is the possible.
It rhymes. And then the song is more
much more than what is sung;
and what is sung is always less
for being sung too close to home.
He turns towards his house:
a glare of white, a wind that will not die,
and out there a din of trickery,
a song he cannot make his own.
He’ll make some other song
thrice worked, husband it a hedge,
a wall of thornbush, some local plant
of which he’s sure he knows the name.
And once it’s trimmed, its even line
will sing like song to all inside,
the virtues he has preached now proved
that song is joy, is all, and not the self’s misery.
But now it’s night, and he must sleep
and keep at bay the rustling leaves.
It is his death he knows which stalks him,
that grows at night, some vulgar thing
no hedge no song should want
for keeping it at bay,
while in his dream his young new wife
sleeps doubled up, is folded thin
and wishes for some song from him
no matter how deep her misery.
For such she’ll die with him:
some song, some art,
with those outside allowed to look within
and see her life and his escape
with song that knows their misery,
with song made song from misery.