A SECOND OPINION

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?

 

Bedford

May, 1986; May 21st 1994

Nantucket

July 19th, 1996

 

NOTES ON A SECOND OPINION