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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)

Poet Bio

Patricia Kathleen Page was born in England and moved to Alberta, Canada at the age of four. She was educated in Winnipeg and Calgary, and also studied art in New York and Brazil. A novelist and short story writer, Page has also written an autobiography, several works for children, and painted under the name P.K. Irwin. Her work is often praised for its wit, wisdom, moral sensibility, and passionate yet objective viewpoint of human nature and relationships. In the poem “Deaf Mute in the Pear Tree,” for example, Page uses vivid nature imagery to show a loving relationship between a husband and wife.
 

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