Joy in the Planting

“What profit,” I asked, “does there lie in this soil?
My labour will bear its fruit on a day
Far off in the future, when I’m gone away
And a stranger will reap from my toil.”

“What gain,” I then asked, “in this mortal coil,
This limitless cycle of birth and decay,
This nothing-new-under-the-sun, and the way
That the wise man must die like fool?”

“Much profit,” the voice from the water’s edge said,
Where the bread of our labours lay waiting,
And Adam, the gardener, speaking though dead,
Looking on as we strove, our strength fainting,
Pointed to where the earth bore daily bread,
And we looked, and saw joy in the planting.