Season’s Eatings

Here they come, a-slithering,

to start their nightly winnowing,

the slugs and snails, the worms and lice,

all seeking out what once was nice,

was beautiful, but now is not,

now slowly sinking into rot

to feed these little manure makers,

these busy, slimy undertakers,

creatures of the damp and dark,

eaters of the leaf and bark.

They have another purpose, too.

I think it might discomfort you,

but you must know it plain and clear,

it is not something you should fear,

it comes to each and every one,

eventually, when life is done:

those of us who are not burned

are by them to the earth returned.

Summer Into Autumn


Strings of shining spider webs;

dew-drop sprinklings on sparkling grass;

curling leaves, turning brown;

burning dead and broken branches,

twigs and sprigs of withered shrubs;

digging borders, mulching soil, cutting back

and tidying the dead and dying things.

Morning chills in crystal air, carrying mist

from mouths and snouts of breathing creatures,

all lively now, not lazing or crazed

in the season of heat, of lingering days.

The nights are winning, now, the days

are winding slowly down. The seasons,

like man’s illusions, like earth,

sky, thunder, all come and go.

Renewal is never ending.

Nothing stays the same.

All things pass.

All I Need To See

The view from the window:

dirty mean streets, brick and concrete,

blocks of buildings, filled with people

as mean and dirty as the streets.

This urban profanity of a place,

untidy and unkempt and uncared for,

unloved by many, but most of all by me,

I hate it more than I can say.

Give me the fields of my youth,

golden rolling wheat as tall as my eyes.

Give me muddy streams and untrod paths,

hedges for hiding and trees for climbing.

Give me space away from other people,

give me sanctuary.

Oh, my only god,

the god of only me,

alone, in peace, and free,

all I want, all I need to see,

are trees and green and thee.

An English Garden

Sitting in an English garden,

waiting for the sun.

Here it comes,

and here come all the sun lovers:

meadow brown and orange tip, cabbage white,

red admiral and peacock, and a fleeting sight

of the uncommon common blue.

Honey bees and hover flies busy by

with other flies I could not name or can’t abide

Slimy snails power nap in flower beds, slugabeds

hiding from the dying heat, waiting for the evening

to devour my bedding flowers.

A welter of creatures swelter like us

in the heat of the day that does not go away

in the dark of the night, though it might

when the lightning and thunder

baked under hot heaven breaks over the heads

of the creatures and flowers that cower in beds,

flaking out, baking, as sullen earth hardens

in Paradise regained,

in an English country garden,

waiting for the rain.