Afternoon, languid and mysterious,
although perceived from one of many places,
is small and intimate, is infinite;
its meaning is in what goes on forever.
An anonymous statue in an obscure park
wards a few visitors to its desolation,
sweet smelling in a sunburnt shady breeze.
Walls limit sight. A single cardinal
fills windshaken trees with echoes of its song,
scratching in space the flashes of its movement,
distracting one from black coffee on the patio.
Over the wall perhaps the entire world
in thousands of scenes of action form a pattern,
and many rest, or tinker about a house,
leaving their driveways, or to them are returning,
always returning to the simple thing they are,
each one themselves, a complex of emotions.
But all that’s hidden, and what there is to see
are only a bird, the trees, the wall, the fountain,
where nothing happens, beginning without an end,
unless it’s in a distance so far off
that the lush needles and the ripe red berries
are cut down, not what they appear to be.
Yet he who watches from an upstairs window,
turning a curtain back to make a view,
wholly resides in simple clothes and slippers,
constructing within a pattern of his own
to thwart the harmony of hours and minutes,
as if old printed verses, word on word,
piled up the swirling dust motes of the morning
and marked an incremental calendar
with thought and gesture, motive and idea,
the impetus for many simple tasks,
and idleness itself were mental riches,
not wasted outside the compass of a room.
But here by the wall, up close, where neighbors squander
pipings and flurries of sounds the morning swallows
in its deft languid anonymity,
nothing changes, associating time
with a scene like this, though many years ago,
the subject of the gardener’s repetitive hoe,
and childhood’s musings, words within a book
that’s seldom taken down to have a look.
Silent and still, its roots go on and on,
smelling of rich earth, and a fresh cut lawn
where no one goes. Even the gardener
must leave us to this final meditation.