Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year

I'm holiday-impaired, but did manage to steal an e-image of one of my artist mother's paintings for a holiday card. I used a snippet of a poem to accompany it, and here I'm happy to reprint the entire poem, The Apple Tree. I'm working on securing the image of Elayne Seaman's painting, Apple Tree. Apples are emblems of knowledge and health, forces we surely need as this new year gets off to a harrowing, hopeful start.

The Apple Tree
by Wendell Berry

for Ann and Dick O’Hanlon

In the essential prose
of things, the apple tree
stands up, emphatic
among the accidents
of the afternoon, solvent,
not to be denied.
The grass has been cut
down, carefully
to leave the orange
poppies still in bloom;
the tree stands up
in the odor of the grass
drying. The forked
trunk and branches are
also a kind of necessary
prose—shingled with leaves,
pigment and song
imposed on the blunt
lineaments of fact, a foliage
of small birds among them.
The tree lifts itself up
in the garden, the
clutter of its green
leaves halving the light,
stating the unalterable
congruity and form
of its casual growth;
the crimson finches appear
and disappear, singing
among the design.

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