by William Greenway
And for all this, nature is never spent.
“Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
Green, green as moss, veins
slag heaps, the gutter of river already
purifies itself, grass brims
potholes, oozes the foundations
of empty buildings and foundry stacks
like nails in wood. Earth’s
a dead stump sprouting over and eating
iron, digesting slick steel back
to red dirt. What else heals its burns
with skin of flowers? Whose hair comes back
thick and green? Raccoons have found
the sewers, march single file
through the dawn streets.
I came late, after your
bad luck to be beautiful
and rich. Sooty men couldn’t
get enough, plowing in deep,
digging down. Just about pulled
your bones out. Then when you
were broke and beat up, they took
off. But in the right light on
summer evenings, do you look
half bad? And smell good?
Hell, you’re still young.