Your Mark

Your Mark
Come to the overmanaged park and see
The long-forgotten ruleboard, and beyond
The picnic tables scattered randomly
Down the hillside to the duckweed pond.

There take the yellow-labeled “Laurel Trail”
Into the woods, and hear the selfish crow
Above the traffic noise that shall not fail.
Huh. Maybe there are laurels. Who would know?

Pass garbage barrels and the dog poop station
And find a beech with some undamaged bark
Next to the path, and join the conversation:
Carve the year as your eternal mark.
24 March 2021
With references to the well-known German poem starting “Komm in den totgesagten Park und schau” (“come to the supposedly dead park and look”) by Stefan George, which (at least on the surface) is about the beauty of autumn.

The poem does not describe any single park. It draws details from various parks I know and alters them freely.

While writing this, I could not help imagining discussion questions about it that might appear at the end of the section—sorry, I mean the “unit”—in an insipid high school literature textbook. Like “In what sense is the park ‘overmanaged’ rather than neglected?” and “The speaker shows familiarity with duckweed and beech trees. Why does the speaker express uncertainty about laurels?” Uh oh, sentence fragment! Red marks!