Puddles

By Sheldon Harnick
Sheldon Harnick’s poem “Puddles” introduces a section in “The Outdoor Museum” devoted to his wife’s photographs of wet city streets and what is reflected in them. Margery Harnick Photo


Manhattan puddles, I suspect, are vain.
    If so, then this must be the reason why:
Manhattan puddles know that they reflect
    Manhattan buildings, trees and sky.

But other puddles, too, may be as proud,
    Content to dwell in town and countryside.
Reflecting the locales that gave them birth,
    They glow with chauvinistic pride.

I wonder if beneath their calm facades,
    They tremble when they contemplate their fate.
They know reflected glory’s a mirage
    And will, in time, evaporate.

Aware that their existence may be brief,
    They take the onward rush of time to heart
And choose to spend their dwindling span of days
    Becoming works of art.