For decades three Iíve nested here . . .
At half a mile the name of every street I know,
Closer the name of every householder
And closer yet of every dog and cat.
Along the walks my feet anticipate
Each crooked concrete slab they touch,
My hands each rough-barked tree.
I listen for the seasonsí music:
Toads in moist springtime,
Locusts in the summer heat,
Autumn geese crying high in the sky
And juncos peeping on frosty winter afternoons.
In my nose the choking smell of charcoal smoke
Means the couple on the west are feeding guests;
Happy splashing and childrenís shouts?
The family on the east are in their pool.
Northward across the way
The single man runs daily with his dog;
And south of me the widowed woman may sit quietly,
Reading on her patio in the twilight
While sunbeams stream through the oak branches.
This is my neighborhood;
This is the groundwork of my life.