Down by the spring the lemon trees
Had grown and died and grown again
Since well before the town was built,
And no-one knew their real age.
Each year the sparrows filled the trees
With squabbling hoards of hungry mouths.
They fed and roosted, fought and bred,
And no-one thought how long they had.
Between the trees the old man worked.
He watered courgettes, melons, beans.
He flicked the flowers clean of flies,
Just like the old men had before.
The lemon trees stood by the spring,
And no-one heard the flowers fall.