A week ago the gravel on the driveway

Was grave and broken as the world itself was gray, 


The dirt as dark and hard as death,

A landscape breathing without breath,


Moving without sound, dying without gain,

A damp suburb of decay and rain


Where the softest touch was turned to stone,

As bleak and bleached-out as a bone;


How could all the molten forms of bliss

Come from mud as dense as this?


My daughter's teachers say the world's like that:

Bits of rock and flowers beaten flat,


Entire groves of blossoms lost

To a society of frost:


All the weeding, hoeing, flower bedding

Essential to a summer wedding,


The forest of a thousand Ardens

Turned to chaos in the gardens


But look again: today the lime-green grass

Is changed from last week's class:


In your bare feet you can't touch a place 

That isn't ripe with myrtle or with Queen

    Anne's lace


The fungus that a day ago was mold

Is moss now, growing uncontrolled;


Where once was winter, now a daisy weaves,

On which the sun seeps through the leaves—


Florescent lawns invest the breeze

With gentians, daffodils, and bees,


The world inexplicably become

A meadow dotted with the sun.


What happens here is just a model

For the universe's cosmic throttle—


The natural world is just a hint

Of the spirit's finer print.


Each vine has something that it can teach:

Since yesterday the land has had to reach,


And if you take the ground as heaven's thermostat,

I wonder what my daughter's teachers make of that?



May, 1986; May 21st 1994


July 19th, 1996