A thick, glass bowl held firmly in my hand
I stoop and lift the drooping, bent, brown cane,
And summer sun beats down upon my back
And goose grass clutches, scratches, where I stand.
And heat evaporates the sharp, strange scent
Residing in the soft and hairy leaves
Of flowering dead nettle, as I crane
To reach the red ones near the fence. My sleeves
All floaty chiffon catch and snag; a strand
Of climbing rose attacks my arm;
And yet I persevere, possessed by greed,
In competition with imagined mice.
I cannot leave a single soft, red fruit;
I seem impelled to pick and spread the seed
By some force stronger than my will.
I drop the odd one into long, dry grass,
But cannot leave it be and needs must root,
Determined it shall not be there to feed
Some other hungry creature who might pass.