The Corner

This is my spot—
This corner of the yard
Overgrown with weeds
Near the woodpile
And the compost heap.
All summer long
It molders with a lyric
Rot, moldy woodstink
I feel at home with;
Where the cowish slugs
Graze in the moist decay,
And shy colonies of woodlice
Sleep in eternal peace
Under the weathered logs.
—A joyful neglect
I make my small defense
Against the advanced
Barbarians of precision
And order . . .

And here,
In the afternoon, resting
In an old lawn chair
After gardening,
I am lulled by the bleary
Disorienting sun,
The green bluebottle flies
Magnetized on and off the compost
The sweet smell of summer
Sweat under the brim
Of my pulled down
baseball cap.

And sometimes,
Sitting into the evening,
I listen as the marsh
Begins its froggy music,
Threatening with its clicks
And drones, as a hundred
Million insects rage
With biological intensity,
The steady racket beckoning me,
Like the old gods,

Back through the swaying ten foot
Into the soft body of the marsh
To lose myself in the dark
Fur of night…

In winter, too,
I sit here;
The chair frozen,
The fragile sunlight glimmering
Off the woodpile quiet under
Old snow. Sometimes,
Bringing out a cup of warm sake,
I watch the pungent steam
Rise into the clear air
And with the first slow sip
Give up all thought, surrendering
To the precise fragrance
Of the cold, the sun making
Behind my closed eyes.
Or just as it begins
To snow,
I watch as the flakes
Fall with a heavy, increasing
Silence, and throw back my head,
Feeling each tiny wetness
Like a blessing, a sort of
Snowy lovemaking, as they fall
On an open human face, getting
In my lashes and nose hairs—
Tiny benedictions we only receive
When we sit in the cold or heat
For its own sake, surrendered at
To bug and weed and weather.
And when the snow has covered
I get up carefully, trying to keep
From losing the pure white coat,
As I walk slowly back to the house,
The children at the kitchen
Laughing at my approach.