The Gardener

David Rowbotham

I watched my father digging in his garden.
His spade, with a sound like the palm of a huge hand
Against a huger tree, struck through the soil,
Lifted, turned, let fall. He pounded with care
Each stubborn clod and broke it into earth
That flowed between his fingers;
And the peewit came from the nest in the camphor-laurel
And, with a bird’s simplicity, like a child’s trust,
Stabbed for worms in the shadow of his knees.
You can not know the kindness of a man
Till you see him in a garden with a spade
And birds about his feet.