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Experiment 10

Gardens At The Ford

page 2

Gardens At The Ford

At once I remembered when we were small,
Every day at the ford after school
By the tarred logs of the bridge
We made patterned gardens on the bank.
For an afternoon our microscopic land
Was a whole inviolable world; rich

Islands for each, like flowered maps.
Mine was a scramble of winding tracks
Encroaching on yours with armies of plantain,
Periwinkle, lupin, and small bleached roses
Found among blackberries on the dry slopes.
Yours was square, ordered terrain,

Mapped by a lone explorer; large
Paddocks of watercress, blue clay paths.
The gardens were for ever, flowers altered,
The patterns remained. "We can't choose,"
Said the mothers. "We know whose is whose."
You said, "You mustn't come over my wall."

I forgot the gardens until suddenly,
Through the glass window, you smiled at me.