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trees – poem – dverse

January 18, 2014

We lived near an orchard once,
Row upon row of low gnarled trees
Tended by an old gnarled man
Misshapen like the trees,
They stunted for harvest
He by age, both according to plan.

A college owned it.
Though in their season
Singing robins and squawking jays
Declared their claim.
In fall beneath the laden branches
At dusk deer and rabbits feasted.

We walked the trees by day
Tiny fingers grasping mine
Always seeking the same tree
A living throne that welcomed
Curls and ponytails.

They would dare higher
Then perched boldly at
Impossible heights
Warble more beautifully than any bird.

One night we chanced upon a skunk
The kitty with the white stripe
Who stared, surprised as we
And in that moment’s grace
Hand in hand we laughing ran
Faster than light, faster than smell.

When the old man died
The college bulldozed every tree
Too much work maintaining them.

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From → dverse, poetry

15 Comments
  1. I like what you left me:

    the sun
    warms my heart
    and ten thousand shards of ice

    Yours inspired me:

    old men and gnarled bones
    a graveyard full of dusty tomes
    victims of our future’s past

  2. Sad ending but your happy memories keep the old man and his orchard alive–and he’d like that.
    “A living throne that welcomed
    Curls and ponytails”–charming word picture in a lovely poem, Bill.

  3. Of childhood, remember many an orchard…haven’t seen one for years.
    Anna :o]

  4. A living throne that welcomed
    Curls and ponytails…

    …love these lines…that orchard seemed like a wonderful place to be. Somber ending…felt.

    • yes, it was a great place. I suppose few things are more man-made than an orchard. I suppose like a building, it was time to go.

      Thanks for stopping by

  5. you had me from the first stanza, really good poem…at least he didn’t have to witness the destruction of his beloved orchard.

    • thanks – I think the college may have bought the land from him with this in mind. I hope so.

  6. I enjoyed the wistful story and the personal details you included. We have to be glad the man did not witness the sad ending if his orchard.

  7. an orchard being bulldozed down.. such a devastating end.. loved this poem Bill.. most likely one of my favorites I read from you..

  8. ..oh, what a harsh end… sigh…

  9. How sad that the old tree was taken out ~ I agree with you on the maintenance but they are a lovely sight ~ Enjoyed the bounty of the tree ~

  10. I agree, what a sad ending. I am sure that the old man would be sad to know what resulted of the orchard he cared for so much. I liked the way you told this tale & liked the details you included.

  11. ugh, what a sad end…fitting i guess that with the passing of the old man his labor was gone as well…funny on the skunk…and thank goodness you ran faster than the smell cause that can be brutal….tomato juice bathes for days…

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