Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Gardener's Friend

I was forking the soil
ready for vegetables
to sow from packs of seed.
Sweat filmed my spectacles,
wiping them on my shirt
and replacing them
I saw a robin on the earth
that I'd just dug over,
looking around, taking a step,
pecking in mimicry of me.

A robin at the apex
of a lineage of robins,
like me in that,
and also that we both were
on a similar mission,
as of all that grew around us,
for sustenance of some sort.

I could have pitied
the robin for what it
didn't feel the lack of,
that it wouldn't ever need
a bank account
hopefully full of money,
to dress up for a party,
or visit an art gallery,
or send its fellows
to that round white thing
that hangs in the branches
of the night sky.

But I could see
it didn't envy or pity me,
all my work was useless,
it might have thought.
If I left off for one summer
the wild weeds would be back
and a wilderness was
no good for me, but a robin
could cope with that.

It darted its eye from me
down to what it was
there for - and all was
right about its simplicity.

I hefted my fork again
digging with new strength
in each downward push,
a new rhythm in each
turning of the fork's tines
and what their pecking
uncovers from the soil
of bugs and worms,
thinking all the time
as a robin might
of when I'm through
with all this backbreaking
groundbreaking toil
and the big round nest
I'll fly up to.


© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved