The National Catholic Review
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.

Patricia Schnapp, R.S.M., teaches at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich. She is co-editor, with Dan McVeigh, of The Best American Catholic Short Stories (Sheed and Ward, 2007).

Show Comments (2)

Comments (hide)

Magdalene Tobias | 3/25/2008 - 4:06pm
Sr. Pat, Congratulations! Proud of your publication. Very Profound.
Christopher Matthias | 3/20/2008 - 11:44am
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.

Recently by Patricia Schnapp

The Poet of the Return to God (February 5, 2007)

Recently in Poem