Who are you to judge whether she is old
or young, and if she is lifting the bucket
or lowering it down into this well?
And is she pretty or plain as undyed linen,
is she a sail riding the summer wind
bright as a maiden's eye above waves of blue?
Does her walk sway in pleasure and promise
of bracing dreams as if the earth could sing
fertile as joyous butterflies in a flowered field,
or has this saddle stretched slack in cascades
of ripe fruit and rides no more through
blossomed orchards? Who then are you
to cage in presumptuous iron the very
mystery that calls us to life where hovers
the brimming bucket, ever poised between
dark depths and choral sunlight -- she is beauty
and this too is a criminal exhortation, and
nothing worthwhile is to be found in your
regard that does little more than stretch
this frayed rope -- so shame!
Dismissal delivers vicious wounds and she
walks away or walks to with inner cringing.
Dare not speak of fairness, dare not indulge
cruel judgement when here I sit watching
and all the calculations between blinks
invite the multitude to heavy scorn and see
that dwindling sail passing for ever beyond you
as is her privilege there on the sea of flowers
all sweet fragrance swirling in her wake --
it will never ever reach you -- and this is
balance, this is measure, this is the observance
of strangers who hide their tears
when turning away.