Babette Deutsch

Urban Pastoral

More domestic than elegant, leaves and pigeons 
Hedge the dazzle beyond. Green, dust, 
A purple strutting, screen the river's march. 
The walks are for pigeons and ladies 
Like parched pigeons, avoiding the bench where a tramp 
Rustily sleeps. The carriages in the park 
Are babies' now; children make all the traffic. 
Spring brightly traveling, summer half awake, 
Here the afternoon city plays at being 
A dream of summer's: gaiety in repose, 
Lazily festive as poster holidays, 
A dream. Crossed by the tramp, rousing. 
On paths where sparrows edge to snatch the bread 
Crumbed for the humbled pigeons, the holiday 
Is broken and scattered. Yet a strong green still 
Throngs the boughs; and the river, preened, goes twinkling 
Past all these birds, on to the salt sea.