Souvenir of the Ancient World

Clara strolled in the garden with the children. 
The sky was green over the grass, 
the water was golden under the bridges,
other elements were blue and rose and orange, 
a policeman smiled, bicycles passed, 
a girl stepped onto the lawn to catch a bird, 
the whole world—Germany, China—
   all was quiet around Clara.

The children looked at the sky: it was not forbidden.
Mouth, nose, eyes were open. There was no danger.
What Clara feared were the flu, the heat, the insects.
Clara feared missing the eleven o'clock trolley:
She waited for letters slow to arrive,
She couldn't always wear a new dress. But she strolled in the garden, in the morning!
They had gardens, they had mornings in those days!

Excerpted from Looking for Poetry by Mark Strand. Copyright © 2002 by Mark Strand. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.