Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jane Shore's poem about a tree

This is definitely another opinion about how to care and feed and trim a tree. I love this poem. Wish I had written it. Counter-point to my tree-trimming rant.



Willow
by Jane Shore


It didn't weep the way a willow should.
Planted all alone in the middle of the field
by the bachelor who sold our house to us,
shoulder height when our daughter was born,
it grew eight feet a year until it blocked
the view through the first-, then the second-
story windows, its straggly canopy obstructing
our sunrise and moonrise over Max Gray Road.
I gave it the evil eye, hoping lightning
would strike it, the way a bolt had split
the butternut by the barn. And if leaf blight
or crown gall or cankers didn’t kill it, then
I'd gladly pay someone to chop it down.
My daughter said no, she loved that tree,
and my husband agreed. One wet Sunday—
husband napping, daughter at a matinee
in town—a wind shear barreled up the hill


so loud I glanced up from my mystery
the moment the willow leaned, bowed,
and fell over flat on its back, roots and all,
splayed on the ground like Gulliver.
The house shook, just once.
Later, when the sun came out, neighbors
came to gawk; they chain-sawed thicker
branches, wrapped chains around the trunk,
their backhoe ripped out pieces of stump
and root as if extracting a rotten tooth.
I'm not sorry that tree is gone. No one
ever sat under it for shade or contemplation.
Yet spring after spring it reliably leafed out.
It was always the last to lose its leaves
in fall. It should have died a decade ago
for all the grief I gave it, my dirty looks
apparently the fuel on which it thrived.
It must have done its weeping in private.
But now I can see the slope of the hill.
Did my wishful thinking cast a spell?
I was the only one on earth who saw it fall.

2 comments:

Ann Best said...

This is an amazing, very close in rhythm to a blank verse, poem!! I'm glad you commented on my grandbaby post, Madeline, which nudged me over here to find it. I share your love of good poetry (I think I've told you before how good YOUR poetry is, the poems in your memoir), and this is truly an excellent and satisfying poem. Calls to mind a weeping willow tree by my childhood house, but it was nothing like this one! To be a tree like this willow -- rooted deep in the earth (in goodness), doing what it does best season after season after season. JUST lovely!!

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks for being here, Ann. Yes. I couldn't resist sharing this wonderful poem. And you are also a wonderful poet. I loved your poems in your memoir.