"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Friday, February 25, 2011

Poetry Friday: A Pruning Poem

An apple tree sprout being converted to a bran...Image via Wikipedia

Happy Poetry Friday to you! A pruning poem for you all today. It is pruning season, or at least the tale end thereof. (We must celebrate something in the bleak end of winter after all)  Time for all overgrown trees to get haircuts and all shrubs to get trim jobs that will have them prancing around in high-style once the warm weather has them leafing and blossoming all over the place.

I have been working, little by little on pruning our very large and very neglected apple tree and hoping on one hand that spring comes soon to rescue me but on the other hand that it holds off long enough to let me finish all the snipping and clipping this old tree needs. If a tree is clipped once the sap has really begun to flow hard it can "bleed out" and pour sap from all its wounds and end up dying in the warming, early spring. As I work, racing spring I have been thinking out a poem about the whole thing. This morning I took a little stab at putting down the bits that have been rattling around in my mind as I traded clippers for saw and then saw again for clippers in the chill wind.
Pruning The Apple Tree
I am pruning the dear, ancient apple tree
That leans, reclining over the back hedge
Behind our new home: a tall, old colonial.
It might turn out to bear nothing at all but
Small, hard crab apples like bitter marbles
(For some reason the neighbor can't remember)
Then, I know, my husband will see no point
And archly suggest a chainsaw at the trunk.
I finger all the thickly twisted branchings
And tilt my head as I envision each of the
Diagnostic choices: this branch or that gone.
My glittering saw makes fragrant, smooth
Work of the chosen amputation and the wound
Yawns open, fresh and yellow in the cold.
I am glad the ice-wind is blowing stiffly,
From the north, the better to anesthetize
The patient who sits numbly through my surgery.   
I see signs of other years here on the boughs:
Roughly hacked, black stubs of once-limbs,
Places where the tree has grown a living mace
And one limb that has gone thickly into
The very flesh of its widely forked neighbor
I drop branch bits on the snow and wonder as I
Climb a broad trunk, my palms splayed open,
Against the icy bark if the tree will
Shake its head pinkly, rouse as fragrant cloud
And bear me saving fruit for pies or if it
Sleeps deeply, sunk into a peaceful reverie
Tiny, unborn marble-fruit held tight in every bud,
Knowing this is the last cold, drowsy winter
It will arch sagely over my back hedge.

Apple tree with fruitsImage via Wikipedia
I really do hope it turns out to be a grand, old standard apple of some kind, don't you? Even if it is a crab, I have half a mind to try to convince A to save it just so I can make glittering apple jelly every year. I do hate to lose a wise old tree like this. I wonder who planted it and when. Guessing the age of trees is a very tricky game although even I can tell ours is quite old. I'd have taken a picture for you but it's doing a cold drizzle outside and there's no real love for a camera in that kind of weather.

You can find more Poetry Friday entries at our host Sara's blog, Read Write Believe.
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