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.

9 years 2 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.
9 years 2 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

A youth takes the Eucharist from Monsignor Gregorio Rosa Chavez during a Mass giving thanks for Pope Francis' announcement that Chavez will be elevated to the rank of cardinal, at San Francisco de Asis parish church in San Salvador, El Salvador on Monday, May 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
Rosa Chavez has a reputation as a man of the people, warm and quick to smile.
Fan leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Over a dozen people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Pope Francis sent his condolences and prayers to all those affected "by this senseless act of violence" in Manchester, England.
In this photo taken May 19, 2017, a GPO worker stacks copies of "Analytical Perspectives Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2018" onto a pallet at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's (GPO) plant in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The budget’s moral measure will be assessed by “how well it promotes the common good of all,” the bishops write.
Kevin ClarkeMay 22, 2017
A veteran activist provides a blueprint for creating a movement in the moment of Trump.
Nathan SchneiderMay 22, 2017