Don Share

Don Share is the editor of Poetry. His most recent books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow), Union (Eyewear), and Bunting’s Persia (Flood Editions); he also edited a critical edition of Basil Bunting’s poems for Faber. His translations of Miguel Hernández, awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize, were published by New York Review Books. His other books include Seneca in English (Penguin Classics), Squandermania (Salt), and The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of POETRY Magazine (University of Chicago Press), a sequel to which will appear in 2017.

 

 

 

Flourishes
oooooooFor Jackye

 

All of the front-facing windows
Open to the tree you planted
I used to call it the dad tree
Because Neal brought over a sprig
After my father died, and no surprise
It was a threadbare twig that didn’t survive
My care or lack thereof or his
Or, in the end, the cold
Characteristically, you made it right
You planted the one that lived
And not only lived but thrived
A rhyme, therefore, right outside
Our very door, and so much
Of our life here owes itself to you:
The daughter who has gleefully
Taken up residence with us,
The kitty in her striped fancy,
And me; we prosper
To the extent that your care
Daily and graciously allows
Now, you say you’re going gray
As if the change you see
In your hair isn’t also like
The way that, say, M.
Grows tall, or the tree in our yard
Yes, all that growing is hard
If it’s anything, and there’s no
Particular crossover point
At which joy declines
And what’s done inclines-
I know you feel differently
Your body tells you differently,
Your beautiful soul, too,
Which is lofty like the uppermost
Leaves out there, if only
You could see it that way;
And you and I have seen, true,
The redbud behind our house
Decline, stooping and leaning
In its final vertiginous curve
Back toward earth when once
It grew fairly high, right up
To the electric wires with its stave
Of birds; yet its leaves have never
Been more lush, more green
It’s a profusion, like the canes
Of raspberries that creep
Stealthily, keenly, in the direction they find,
Which is always somehow toward
Those birds and to us. And I
Believe somehow that the tree
In the front, so erect and bright,
And the tree drooping there
In the back, and all of us
Living together in this house
Are each one capable
Of a great many flourishes
Regardless of any disarray
Thanks to the flowering
You set in motion and nourish
Every day, and at night
Also, when most of the growing
And also aging mysteriously
Seems to take place
It sounds sad? It’s not sad,
We’re seeds ourselves, I know
It, because we succeed, arrive,
Prosper, make a go, turn out well
I’m overdoing it like the redbud,
I’m losing pith, I’m moving too
Swiftly through what I intend
As if life might be too short
Because life is so short, and I feel
Orotund as usual, sonorant beyond
What’s called for, trying to forestall
What comes at last, at length, at long
Last, in the long run, when all is said and done
When all is said and done, and happily,
It never really is, I love you so
Much I need more words, anyway
The way those trees, the young one,
The old one, alike need their many
Possible minutes of light, one more,
One more! of bright ardor
Which is a thing that has no end,
These are words only, but let them
Acknowledge the flourishes you bring to life
Here, even if we have only a day that begins,
and then a day that ends, too

 

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