Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree By P. K. Page

His clumsy body is a golden fruit
pendulous in the pear tree   

Blunt fingers among the multitudinous buds   

Adriatic blue the sky above and through
the forking twigs

Sun ruddying tree’s trunk, his trunk
his massive head thick-nobbed with burnished curls   
tight-clenched in bud

(Painting by Generalíc. Primitive.)

I watch him prune with silent secateurs

Boots in the crotch of branches shift their weight   
heavily as oxen in a stall

Hear small inarticulate mews from his locked mouth   
a kitten in a box

Pear clippings fall
                            soundlessly on the ground
Spring finches sing
                            soundlessly in the leaves

A stone. A stone in ears and on his tongue

Through palm and fingertip he knows the tree’s   
quick springtime pulse

Smells in its sap the sweet incipient pears

Pale sunlight’s choppy water glistens on   
his mutely snipping blades

and flags and scraps of blue
above him make regatta of the day

But when he sees his wife’s foreshortened shape   
sudden and silent in the grass below   
uptilt its face to him

then air is kisses, kisses   

stone dissolves

his locked throat finds a little door

and through it feathered joy   
flies screaming like a jay
P. K. Page, “Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree” from The Glass Air: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1985 by P. K. Page. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: The Glass Air: Selected Poems (Oxford University Press, 1985)

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