Part of the Design

Wanting to write a poem is not an extravagance. Sitting on the bench in the back yard crouched under the plum tree, under the pine tree, I play this game—consider how each thing has a reason for being the way it is, how each thing relates to every other thing. This bench must have been built when this plum was only a sapling. Why did anyone cut off the vertical shoots from the base and leave this one low over the bench to grow into a trunk? The plum is like a poem that doesn’t beg for its own existence, but fights tenaciously for the light along whatever slanted angle it can find. Poem, bench, plum, pine are part of the design.

6 October 1985, Palo Alto, and 28 January 1986, Menlo Park