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Korean Mums

by
 beside me in this garden
are huge and daisy-like
(why not? are not
oxeye daisies a chrysanthemum?),
shrubby and thick-stalked,
the leaves pointing up
the stems from which
the flowers burst in
sunbursts.
I love this garden in all its moods, even under its winter coat of salt hay, or now, in October, more than half gone over: here a rose, there a clump of aconite.
This morning one of the dogs killed a barn owl.
Bob saw it happen, tried to intervene.
The airedale snapped its neck and left it lying.
Now the bird lies buried by an apple tree.
Last evening from the table we saw the owl, huge in the dusk, circling the field on owl-silent wings.
The first one ever seen here: now it's gone, a dream you just remember.
The dogs are barking.
In the studio music plays and Bob and Darragh paint.
I sit scribbling in a little notebook at a garden table, too hot in a heavy shirt in the mid-October sun into which the Korean mums all face.
There is a dull book with me, an apple core, cigarettes, an ashtray.
Behind me the rue I gave Bob flourishes.
Light on leaves, so much to see, and all I really see is that owl, its bulk troubling the twilight.
I'll soon forget it: what is there I have not forgot? Or one day will forget: this garden, the breeze in stillness, even the words, Korean mums.

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