Like the Beatles arriving from Britain, the egret's descent on the pond takes the reeds and visitors by storm: it is a reconstructed marsh environment, the next best thing to living out your wild life. * Footbridges love the past. And like the Roman questioner who learned "the whole of the Torah while standing on one leg," flamingos are pleased to ignore us. It is not known whether that Roman could learn to eat upside-down, by dragging his tremendous head through streams. * Comical, stately, the newly-watched tortoises mate; one pushes the other over the grass, their hemispheres clicking, on seven legs in toto. Together they make a Sydney opera house, a concatenation of anapests, almost a waltz. * Confined if not preserved, schoolteachers, their charges, vigilant lemurs, wrens and prestidigitating tamarins, and dangerous badgers like dignitaries stare at one another, hot and concave in their inappropriate coats. Having watched a boa eat a rat alive, the shortest child does as she was told? looks up, holds the right hand of the buddy system, and stands, as she explains it, "still as a piece of pie."
we hang out in the garden center and gossip
with the petunias three seasons a year.
With leaves too small to resemble
thumbs or hands or hearts, too soft
for any parts
of our threadable stems to grow thorns,
we prefer to pretend we are horns,
cornets and alto sax, prepared to assemble
in studios and sightread any charts.
We are of course for sale
to generous homes. Some of us have become
almost overfamiliar with ornamental
cabbage, with the ins and outs of kale.
Others have lost our voice
in a painstaking effort to justify our existence
as a perennial second choice.
Like you, we dismiss whatever comes easiest
to us and overestimate what looks hard.
In our case that means we admire
our neighbors’ luxuriant spontaneities
and treat the most patient preparers with disregard.
We strive for contentment in our
hanging baskets once
we know we will not touch ground.
We tell ourselves
and one another that if you listen
generosity, you will be able
to hear our distinctive and natural sound.