The Present

Magpies wag their tails
on the rust-brown tiles,
with yellow-brown lichen.

Spring has come to swing
his hammer, to drive
crocuses forth
from the leaf-scattered soil.

Look at the workmen
raising their scaffolding,
opening roofs
where the old tiles lay.

This is the building
of a new time:
while daisies peer shyly
towards a pale sun

I up and depart
on the camouflaged back
of a frog who leaps
over gardens.

He follows the scent
of the damp embankment,
the tangled road
to the gold-paved city.

Between the Gothic
spikes of Parliament,
over the Thames we fly,
beating cold air.

Beside the gleaming
science-fiction towers
cranes are pointing
vainly at heaven.

But our business
lies on the living streets –
and a flash of sun
bursts the long whale-cloud,

lighting the yellow
crowns of dandelion.
Now all animal
hearts are burning.

After ‘The Future’ follows ‘The Present’. This one turned into a spring poem as I was writing it.


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