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 4 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 4 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

El don de Dios es la sabiduría. Salomón la recibe como un acto misericordioso de Dios.
Juan Luis CalderónJuly 26, 2017
Then ask: Is it a pearl of great price?
Terrance KleinJuly 26, 2017
Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
The people behind “An Inconvenient Truth” can be forgiven for indulging in a bit of “I told you so” in their follow-up film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
John AndersonJuly 26, 2017
Catholic Relief Services delivers seed and farming tools in Central African Republic in 2014. Photo: Kevin Clarke.
The impact of the Trump foreign aid reductions, if enacted, “would be swift, devastating, and felt for years to come, imperiling millions of lives and the course of global development, stability, and partnership.”
Kevin ClarkeJuly 26, 2017