You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple
who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is that you never see anyone
sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.
Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.
It may not be any of my business,
but let us suppose one day
that everyone who placed those vacant chairs
on a veranda or a dock sat down in them
if only for the sake of remembering
what it was they thought deserved
to be viewed from two chairs,
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive on that day.
The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
There there is only the sound of their looking,
the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then, another, cries of joy or warning -
it passes the time to wonder which.
© Billy Collins
My thoughts about these chairs, they are now mostly garden ornaments. There was a time when chairs and porches were a big deal. You could sit on your porch of an evening and say hello to whoever walked by. You could say hello, or you could chat a bit, from a distance.You might invite people up onto the porch to sit with you and then, if things went well, you could ask them into your house for a piece of cake.These encounters don't happen much anymore.
There's a bench in a yard close to my place that has painted on it, Rest Ye and Thankful Be. I stop there sometimes while walking the hound, and we sit for a few minutes. These orange colored chairs don't seem to extend the same invitation.
© Myfanwy Phillips, North Haverhill 2016