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A Garden in Japan

Andrew Motion

Between crows at dawn

barking the latest news

of their Shogun ancestors


and sparrows at dusk

debating the meaning

of a fragile economy,


the International garden

discovers a stillness

absolute as brushwork.


Slow carp might stir

the long lily roots

with their silk kimonos,


clouds will definitely

drag the odd shadow

across duckweed lawns,


but the one real event

will be my decision

to lift a red leaf


from the fang of rock

overhanging this pool,

and so free the current


to fall to earth

which will never again

be one and the same.


From Poetry London 61 (Autumn 2008)