I watch an old man working in his garden
Dealing life to plant and death to weed.
Of one he saves, of one destroys the seed.
He knows the weeds and not one will he pardon.
He bids the pea vines bloom and they obey.
He teaches them to climb. He tests a pod.
Much that another man might throw away
He saves, he forks it under for decay
To be another generation's need.
This is his work to do. This is his day.
He makes all birth and growth and death his
Slowly he moves, but slow is not delay.
He has all time to work. I watch him plod.
Old man, old man, who told you you were God?
Robert Francis: Collected Poems:
University of Massachusetts Press,
Reprinted by permission.