Old Age

Our old maple is half dead,
some branches long ago amputated,
deep rot in its lightning-cloven core.
We make idle guesses at its age
and imagine it crashing into our house
in some violent storm.
Next to the blue spruce and hickory
its clearly a venerable fossil,
an ancient great-grandmother
to maples across the street.
Our dying arboreal pet.
So its always a surprise
that first green salvo
of its huge and senile branches
every spring,
its dense foliage dappling our summer yard,
the raging fall colors that, sun-gilt,
are the uncontested splendor of our street,
the distillation of accumulated autumns
now defying, once again,
dire expectations.

8 years 11 months ago
I know the woman, I know the tree, And neither one ceases to surprise me. This is a wonderful poem. Thank you Pat for your persistent inspiration.
8 years 11 months ago
Sr. Pat, Congratulations! Proud of your publication. Very Profound.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Instinct, emotion, intuition—all those elements that make politics, well, politics—still matter.
Matt Malone, S.J.February 23, 2017
Yes, some people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are breaking the law, but the law is also breaking them.
Sean CarrollFebruary 23, 2017
Erasing good news about people with disabilities can only encourage the choice to abort people with Down syndrome in the first place.
John J. ConleyFebruary 22, 2017
“Amoris Laetitia” addresses the reality of Catholics in “non-legitimate unions” and opens the possibility for them to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 22, 2017