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In the Garden

Illustration: Tim Bower

By Eavan Boland

Let’s go out now
before the morning
gets warm.
Get your bicycle,

your teddy-bear—
the one that’s penny-coloured
like your hair—
and come.

I want to show you
I don’t exactly know.
We’ll find out.

It’s our turn
in this garden,
by this light,
among the snails

and daisies—
one so slow
and one so closed—
to learn.

I could show you things:
how the poplar root
is pushing through,
how your apple tree is doing,

how daisies
shut like traps.
But you’re happy
as it is

and innocence
that until this
was just
an abstract water,

welling elsewhere
to refresh,
is risen here
my daughter:

before the dew,
before the bloom
the snail was here.
The whole morning is his loom

and this is truth,
this is brute grace
as only instinct knows
how to live it:

turn to me
your little face.
It shows a trace still,
an inkling of it.


EAVAN BOLAND has written eight volumes of poetry, including Night Feed, from which “In the Garden” was reprinted. Boland directs Stanford’s creative writing program.

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