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The trees are stirring in the midnight air
and owls exchange their calls from tree to tree
as, reading late beneath the outdoor light,
This is the way the world should be, I think:
Ms Bishop’s poems, and a glass of wine.
The glass is on the ground beside my chair.
My left hand holds the book. Mechanically,
my careful right descends to get a drink.
I like this glass; the orphan of a set,
I feel a stupid fondness that it’s mine.
I raise it to my mouth. My fingers find
a slug bequeathing, at its sluggish pace,
a line of slime across the glass’s base.
I slam the orphan on the ground too hard.
The shock splits stem from base and breaks the bowl.
The shards and spilt wine glisten in the night.

Remorse for such a little thing! And yet
the world beyond my peaceable back yard
is prone to breakages I can’t control,
and banish, mostly, from my reading mind.
Oh, how I wish I could undo the action!
I crush the slug with meagre satisfaction.