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)
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.
More By This Poet
The Metal and the Flower
Intractable between them grows
a garden of barbed wire and roses.
Burning briars like flames devour
their too innocent attire.
Dare they meet, the blackened wire
tears the intervening air.
Trespassers have wandered through
texture of flesh and petals.
Dogs like arrows moved along
pathways that their noses knew.
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent