Sestina in the Garden

Blown eucalyptus leaves
patter together like rain,
but they can't fool the gardener.
With each sharp gust of wind
branches buck under crows.
Crouching underneath: a scrawny cat.

Twitching at every sound, the cat
peers through sliding screens of leaves
at its raucous enemies, the crows.
They caw anticipation of the rain
that follows rising wind.
It spoils the efforts of the gardener.

Half-heartedly the gardener
waves his broom to shoo the cat.
Sweeping is useless -- the playful wind
is more adept than he at stirring leaves,
which will soon be washed in rain
along with the sooty crows.

It's here. Hunching, the crows
fluff feathers and endure. The gardener
runs to shelter on the porch. The rain
is falling steadily now. The cat
burrows into a pile of leaves.
The downpour's heaviness gentles the wind.

Warm rain falls straight without the wind.
Its steady weight subdues the crows.
Streams of silver tumble from the leaves.
Tinny music blares: the gardener
listens to his radio. No sign of the cat.
The garden surrenders to the rain.

Out comes the sun and dries up all the rain.
The air is so still you'd never guess that wind
had ever gusted. And here's the cat,
slinking through the grass. Once more the crows
begin to scold the gardener,
who, broom in hand, goes back to sweeping leaves.

Rain's end has released the crows.
No wind troubles the gardener.
The cat leaps over sodden heaps of leaves.

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