The Magnifying Glass

Straining to see the thrips
through under-strength glasses
and tracing the movements of a cutworm
through a run of severed seedlings,
the Spring garden absorbs me
in these sub-texts to its Georgic order.
A cut knee which without a shot
might bring a fatal bout of tetanus
is comfortably ignored, as are vapour trails
criss-crossing overhead against the sky
stretched tautly against ill-will.
It’s as if nothing exists
beyond the garden. But within
the influence and vulnerability
of this world a wisp of smoke
rising over the hedge draws me
looking for an answer. Quietly I
lean over as if the delicacy
of the smoke and the exaggerated
silence would have me do so,
to find a small boy and girl
burning leaves with a magnifying
glass. "Watch the ant", the girl
whispers as the beam tracks
its hour glass across the leaves
towards a point I cannot see.
She grips his shoulder
but says nothing, concentrating
all the harder. A stray cloud
passes over and they start.
"See how big it looks,"
she says as I lean a little
too close to the hedge
which rustles with the contact.
Without looking up they dash
towards the house, the smell
of burnt foliage mingling
with the bouquet of the garden.