Such a crop of tomatoes! Such plump flesh, so red!
You walk them with pride to the stall at the end of your lane.
All summer you tended their plants, tied tresses, nipped buds,
talking to them all the while of harvest, never imagining such riches.
Place them in a basket you wove from the hedgerows, hazel
and willow and woodbine, beside tall jars of honey.
Again your hand will reach to turn its amber to the light
and you’ll consider your bees, even the one
that comes now, drowsy with heat,
to bat at the roses you have bunched in their vase.
Remember the year you planted those roses?
As you dug the soil you were working on that song
—the one which made you all that money, that paid for your yacht
and the trip to Antigua, Tahiti, the Seychelles,
which was it? You forget there have been so many.
The day is long. You are in no hurry.
Sit for a while in the Adirondack chair you crafted. Reminisce.
Rest your legs on your greenwood stool; think back
to the day you stumbled upon those ivy-twisted boughs,
carried them the miles home. It was long ago and autumn.
Now it is summer. You sigh for sheer pleasure,
the neighbour’s child has just washed your new car, the coupé
—also owned by the Prince of Wales,
also driven by James Bond in his latest film.
It pulls a little to the left but you will have your man look it over.
Not now. Now your work is done.
You have collected a dozen eggs from beneath your chickens,
in the meadow your children and grandchildren gather wild garlic.
Familiar steps on the gravel behind you announce your wife.
She bears loaves of fresh baked bread. Your wife; beautiful,
sensual. Her smile lights to rekindle thoughts of this morning.
Your wife. The woman who stood by you all these years,
the one who always listened, who gave good advice,
who understood your sense of humour. And your poetry.
Your wife. The one you would have married, granted that other life.