We pruned the garden half the day,
Straightened the pathways, turned the soil,
And made the hedges trim.
As evening shadows came to stay,
We put our supper on to broil
And ate in the growing dim.
Then from a bush, a cardinal
Came hopping down the fence and stopped
As if to watch us eat—
Just like a velvet Christmas ball
A thoughtful nature made and dropped
To make our yard complete.
He jerked his head from side to side
As though inspecting what we’d done
To see we’d got it right;
We watched him back; but though we tried
To keep quite still, he’d flapped and gone
Before we’d finished quite.
I’d guess he knew the statues there
Were humans and would often make
Great sadness with a touch;
And though he liked the garden air,
He’d learnt it would be his mistake
To trust us overmuch.