Kindness

Evening light the colour of olive oil
poured from a high jug: streaming
over the burnished back of the cricket
riding its bowing grass stem; glossing
the spade with its broken handle
leaning on the strainer-post that is itself
leaning, its crumbly lichen glowing,
the wire tired and slack; pooling
on the surface of the leylandii stump,
with its surround of buttery chips
from inexpert swipes of the axe.

Light is light, it is not kindness,
but if kindness had a colour, perhaps
it would be this – yes, you turn away
impatiently, yet it’s you who cannot
bear to crush a snail; who once, in heavy
traffic, abandoned the car, and in tears
strode to a maimed pukeko that fluttered
beside the wide road; you who killed
that bird with a swing and a crack –

stay with me, as the light goesfrom gold, to grey, to black.

 

First published in Agni Online