Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Cherry Tree



David Wagoner, who lives in Washington state, is one of our country’s most distinguished poets and the author of many wonderful books. He is also one of our best at writing about nature, from which we learn so much. Here is a recent poem by Wagoner that speaks to perseverance. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

The Cherry Tree

Out of the nursery and into the garden   
where it rooted and survived its first hard winter,   
then a few years of freedom while it blossomed,   
put out its first tentative branches, withstood   
the insects and the poisons for insects,   
developed strange ideas about its height   
and suffered the pruning of its quirks and clutters,   
its self-indulgent thrusts   
and the infighting of stems at cross purposes   
year after year.  Each April it forgot   
why it couldn’t do what it had to do,   
and always after blossoms, fruit, and leaf-fall,   
was shown once more what simply couldn’t happen.   

Its oldest branches now, the survivors carved   
by knife blades, rain, and wind, are sending shoots   
straight up, blood red, into the light again.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2008 by David Wagoner, whose most recent book of poetry is Good Morning and Good Night, University of Illinois Press, 2005. Reprinted from Crazyhorse, No. 73, Spring 2008, by permission of David Wagoner. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. 

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2 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

"...into the light again."

Beautiful story of self renewal, again and again.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Sounds almost like a human journey, doesn't it?