Glancing over neighboring fence,
at once in full view a family of deer ranging,
in sturdy grace, staring back with placid gazes:
Suburban and occasional, wonder of life so beautiful;
Will they flee?
Will this unbidden tableau so directly appearing,
just as quickly disappear?
Stay! Please, just a moment more,
prolong this time no longer ordinary,
limn onto mindâ€™s eye!
Retarded by utter focus:
Beating hearts perceptibly slowing,
limbs imperceptibly moving,
doe and fawns linger,
their heads, one by one dropping
to feed on bountiful earth.
The panorama widens,
and a once again familiar garden frames
this band, plucking at fulsome melon leaves,
so close to harvest.
Alarm! Bells peal and warn
of a season’s labor disappearing;
dumbstruck awe clashes with duty,
resolving in rash semaphores and unseemly hooting;
hied, honored guests become at once squatters,
mother leading an orderly yet hasty retreat.
The parting comes all too soon
each to their own, feeding and protecting,
leaving a mote of paradise and some regret.
. . .
My wife Cindy and I enjoyed, with some regret, this backyard interlude today; thanks, Cindy, for the title.
Note: This is the first version of this poem. The second more immediate version was published here.