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 nature dream of veils or dresses
Face to face with winter’s frozen messes?

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 the 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 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?