The birch trees in Algy’s garden do not grow tall and straight like Jürgen’s birches but are stunted and bent. Algy doesn’t mind, though – he loves their strange shapes and twisted boughs, and finds that they make good perches for reading poetry. Today, however, he had to brace his back very firmly against the branches to avoid being twisted by the biting wind himself. Spring was certainly behaving in a strange way this year; it reminded him of the poem by e. e. cummings:

          Spring is like a perhaps hand
          ( which comes carefully
          out of Nowhere )arranging
          a window ,into which people look( while
          people stare
          arranging and changing placing
          carefully there a strange
          thing and a known thing here )and

          changing everything carefully

          spring is like a perhaps
          Hand in a window
          ( carefully to
          and fro moving New and
          Old things,while
          people stare carefully
          moving a perhaps
          fraction of flower here placing
          an inch of air there )and

          without breaking anything.

[Algy is quoting a poem by e. e. cummings, from his book selected poems 1923 – 1958, published by Faber and Faber in 1960.]

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