Remaking a Neglected Orchard
It was a good idea, cutting away
the vines and ivy, trimming back
the chest-high thicket lazy years
had let grow here. Though it wasn’t for lack
of love for the trees, I’d like to point out.
Years love trees in a way we can’t
imagine. They just don’t use the fruit
like us; they want instead the slant
of sun through narrow branches, the buckshot
of rain on these old cherries. And we,
now that I think on it, want those
things too, we just always and desperately
want the sugar of the fruit, the best
we’ll get from this irascible land:
sweetness we can gather for years,
new stains staining the stains on our hands.
Nathaniel Perry has had poems and translations appear in the American Poetry Review, the Cincinnati Review, West Branch, and elsewhere. Editor of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, he is Assistant Professor of English at Hampden-Sydney College in rural, south-side Virginia. The poems appearing here are part of a longer series whose titles, among other things, are borrowed from the chapters of M. G. Kains's classic text on small-scale farming, Five Acres and Independence.
“Remaking a Neglected Orchard” appears in our Spring 2010 issue.