CairoAcross the road the mystic garden stands,
behind high rails, a lawn obscured by palms
and cypress. By a broken pillar, half concealed,
there is an old sepulchre, cracked and ruinous;
with passing time its mystery touches me
and moves my heart to open up its joy.
But one day, returning by a different route,
I see the garden from the other side:
that glimpse of palace, just a block of flats,
the sepulchre, now an empty garage.
The vision’s spoiled, the mystery’s gone.
Which garden really is the truth,
the garden of the heart, or of the head?
If one thinks the brutal is more real,
that garage might be secret gold: shelter
for some tired midnight couple, the woman
gravid, the man shamed by poverty;
then a miracle: two turn into three.
An old car seat, a barrow for a cradle,
a street lamp pure as any distant star,
a vagrant’s crust; all turned to treasure
by full hearts and the eyes of love:
transmutation, or maybe just seeing true.