by Karen Kelsay
Tonight, a slow release of summer rain
sweeps through my pear tree. Gentle is the sound,
a metronomic lullaby that rolls
across each limb and patters on the ground.
Outside my room, traversing streamlets run
along the open pane–I try to count them all.
And leaves are soaked a darker green, while buds
appear to peek between the lattice wall.
The scent of blossoms filters through my screen.
I lie awake, yet, caught up in romance
among the boughs, where whispers hum to me,
and all my evening thoughts have learned to dance.
Karen Kelsay is a native Californian who grew up near the Pacific. As a child, she spent most of her weekends on a boat. She has three children, two cats and extended family in England, where she loves to visit. Her poems have been widely published over the past few years in journals, including The Boston Literary Review
, The New Formalist
, The Christian Science Monitor
and Willow’s Wept Review
. Her first book, Collected Poems
, was finished in 2008, and a chapbook, A Fist of Roots
, was published by Pudding House Press in January 2009. A second chapbook of children’s poetry, titled Song of the Bluebell Fairy
, will be published later this year. To visit her website, go here
. To read samples of her verse for children, go here
Listen to Patricia reading “The Pear Tree.”
When early autumn’s storm wrung from the clouds
Summer, wearing the last thundering rain thin
And sharp on the wind’s rasp; when thorns
Of the first frost bloomed over the grass,
And the morning glory hung brown and bitten
On the garden fence; on those first nights
Of cold window glass and the drip of chill
Onto the plank, when I wrapped in the blanket
And the dog curled at my feet, I heard,
Above the clay clink of wind-churned chimes,
Above the wag of the unlatched screen door,
Round blows of fruit fall against the ground.
I have been here three years’ windfall
Not hearing the bump of pears, but when the tree
Burst blossoms against the window, I watched
Crawl across the floor shadow from thousands
Of swaying cups lifted into the storm of pollens,
And when after petals leaves screwed from the nodes,
I looked out into green overcast: fruit had pushed
Off flower and bent down boughs as with old age,
But more mystic that blunt drop of fruit earthward
That jerked my ear like a new word.
Someone else should hear it: I could better tell
How, when the wind rattled its sticks upon the houses,
I heard a pear fall to a bruising; how it struck
Above the rip of water from passing cars’ tires;
How, as I let slip with sleep my garment of senses,
A tree caught the last thread and plucked it
With a ripe pear; and how I lay awake beneath rainy
Leaves or sat for spells by the window, as one haunts
Heaven those nights her globes bear down the branch
For a single star to fall away in flame.
“The Pear Tree” was the winner of the 1987 BYU Eisteddfod Crown Competition for a lyric poem. It was published in Irreantum 4.2 (2006): 99.