For Those Who Would See

by Derek Sheffield

the swift and ceaseless sprinkler whirling
and flinging its bright globes

drop by drop has filled a blue bowl
left out on the lawn. The little pool
formed by that embrace never stops

breaking and regathering—winks of calm
coming between bouts of splattering—

and in the way the pool accepts
each troubling drop so it becomes
the surface that in the next instant

shatters at the next and so on,
this is also clearly a matter of light

splashed and light
scattered in all directions
for anyone who happens to be watching.

Reprinted with permission.

Read poetry by Derek Sheffield in Not For Luck, available for purchase online.

Ican’t help but read “For Those Who Would See” as a commentary on the nature of our minds, the way thoughts and worries come and go with only “winks of calm/coming between bouts” of distraction and disturbance. At first glance, Derek Sheffield’s poem offers something mundane and simple: “a blue bowl/left out on the lawn,” filled with water from the “swift and ceaseless sprinkler.” How many of us have watched a summer sprinkler flinging droplets across the grass of a yard? Yet in Sheffield’s masterful hands, this act of truly seeing the blue bowl, the “bright globes” of water, and the sprinkler itself, beco