The market gardeners of my home town,
Good Chinese, by the creek grew lettuce
In the sun and left on their own,
As the water ran by and the tadpoles swam,
Just worked to live or with a gun
And saltpetre fired at trespassers.
I do not often think of them but I dread
Such sober judges of me when I am dead.
I think now of your prescribed joy
That from a suburban home came—
(The arrogant freckled girl kissed her boy
At the gate by the juiceless garden)—
You are the praised portrait of trust in men,
Swimming in all those brown and blue eyes, warm
With this love which the syringes try.
In all our home courtesies, we learned the lie.
© Peter Porter