by Michael Shindler (February 2021)
Apple Tree with Red Fruit, Paul Ranson, 1902
A Fruit Tree
A fruit tree flowering on a lofty crag
Let its petals fall on a man climbing:
Bronze petals that would flash in the breeze
As the man rushed from jag to jag.
He relished it all—the height, the air, the strange chiming,
And at last came toward the great tree on his knees.
Looking up, he saw the fruits,
Each like a fiery god.
But then he noticed the roots
And retraced the trail he had trod.
A clocktower in the dim city
Chimes into an unswept room:
Hands of pity
Swinging toward private doom.
But minute by minute the sky yellows,
Traffic-sounds rush the upper-story,
The neighbor's wife bellows
And flecks of dust swirl in morning glory.
And the clocktower casts a shadow
In the midst of the brightening clamor:
A grey-cloud over a meadow;
A nail under a hammer.
Women wailing at port,
Ships swaying at sea;
Poseidon and his consort
Laughing with glee.
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