In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.
Who is the second-person addressee, the "you" whose "extended absence" does not excuse them from blame for heavy rains and cold nights, who has no heart and "do[es] not discriminate between the dead and the living"? Does the tomato blight symbolise anything else, or is the poem just about a disappointed gardener? Why is a maple mentioned as well as tomato plants? Was this poem inspired or influenced by any others (for some reason it reminds me of William Carlos Williams's "This is Just to Say")? What is the effect of the poem's casual style, without rhyme or metre or starting lines with capital letters?