A file of sycamores, three feet thick,
rising serene, flanked by a curling chain-link fence
and a rusting
What builderıs eye saw their necessity,
planted them along a dusty, rutted track
as bricklayers on scaffolds
turned from their work
cutting and tamping each red loaf,
warm in the
summer sun, into a graceful fan
above vast windowsand longed for just a
of water from the tubs the planters down below
upended at each
How many generations felt their shade
on late afternoons of summer days too long at work,
their labors ended
and the homeward march begun?
Or felt a chill as their branches blocked the morning sun,
lined up to
shuffle through the broad white doors
and take their places at machines,
oiled and lacquered,
whose pinstripe filigrees evoked some memory
their morningıs walk beneath those trees?
What unknown reservoirs beneath
that landscape of failed enterprise have nourished them?
They take no pride of place nor purpose;
they are not survivors, not
They are simply there.
The Picture Man
The picture man emerges from the past
with boxes of old slides to locate
the heart of you. He gives you what you were,
what those who are you now
joyous, tired, imagining no time beyond;
not today, certainly.
The picture man brings the vision up for you
to contemplate. A certain
something about the eyes,
a gaze drifting behind the camera,
photographer, to an instant whose meaning
is not quite grasped and then
is lost until
today reminds you.
The picture man doesnıt mean to. He only comes
to give you a glimpse
into the past, a view
of where you were when. But still, he watches you.
He sees your eagerness, your pain.
He knows what you see and what you want but
cannot have, today.
Glimpsed From the Train
At the edge of the roof
behind the false front
of the second-hand store:
A wool-capped man,
tool poised to shape a brick
to fill timeıs crenellation.
Autumn, the light too perfect by half.
The inlet stream that splits the town
reflects a sky of deathless blue,
The scene frozen,
complete and sharp.
Does the hammer fall,
or the water flow?