Walk Through Two Landscapes for E. M. S

WE WALKED together in two different landscapes
sharply refracted through two temperaments.
My scene was huge — compared with yours, austere
and spare of nouns: a study in planes of color,
olive and ivory and violet
slipping away in squeezing parallels,
in long arcs of leave-taking from the eye.
My landscape was a spectrum of my dream
of time and magnitude, and of that point, myself,
that has position but no magnitude.
It was the frail projection of a thought
that for a half-convincing moment filled
the cupped panes of the eyes, the brain’s small theater.
And yours: you walked fastidiously. You saw
with eyes half clinical, half amorous,
the intimate anatomy of a season.
Out of the sleeves of summer you perceived
small birds to fly, or what to me were birds,
but what you saw with more particular sight
were waxwing, grosbeak, bobolink or lark,
crested or capped, and whether cock or hen.
For you, no planes of ivory, olive, mauve,
but mouse-moved wheat and siskin-shaken pine,
orchis, erigeron, vervain or vetch.
You stubbed your toe on detail at each step,
and each encounter reinforced your faith
that earth was no illusion, but a fact
older than knowledge, solid beyond sense.
Uneasy in my abstract universe,
I felt my dearth of fact as a defect,
my vision nakedness; yours, rich insignia.
A hundred things occurred in every inch
sprung of their hundred words. A microscope
lived in your pupils. You divined a seed
whole, as I guessed a world, and from that package
unwrapped a tree as I let loose a system.