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.