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
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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