Evening Poetry, September 15

Opening Up

by Peter Davison

Weekend: a country custom, a century old,
English in origin, secular, elite,
depended on railway schedules for its ritual:
breakfast in silver warmers, tweeds till tea,
tennis or crocquet when there was no hunting,
dress for dinner, billiards after port,
later, adultery in upstairs bedrooms.

Now as the car turns willingly off asphalt
and gravel stings its tires, we try our hand,
Arriving’s, all the same, though all has changed.
The buds have swollen: or the leaves have turned;
the house is still surprisingly intact.
An unlocked door will let the world back in groceries,
canvas satchels, lists of chores.

Stop. Watch the maples bending in the wind
tossing their boughs in summer agitation.
Quick, before sunset, swim the salt creek
that creeps up from the coast a mile away
to hiss beneath the bridges, trickle through
the swaying stalks of marsh grass, burdened with
more nourishment than twenty tons of humus.
Here one is happiest when not too clean.

Come on, walk barefoot over new-cut stalks
of green lawn grass, pausing to wipe off
the sticky blades that squeeze between your toes.
Along the granite of the garden wall
a hundred varied blossoms flash their hues
of gold and scarlet, peach and ivory.

One skyscraper stands up among the lilies,
brandishing blossoms like archangels’ trumpets—
All while the thirsty grasses dream the day.
Bend toward them. I can hear the tide of green
engorge and stiffen, music in the blood,
lifting sensation past the reach of time,
mingling with the future. Come, let’s turn,
let’s walk indoors and open up the house.

You can find this in The Poems of Peter Davison.