beside a pear-tree for an hour
And watched the petals glide
Around me, like confetti in a shower
Designed for one who'd never been a bride.
I was not idle, but spun out my thread
Of words, while robins fluttered overhead.
Poems were the webs I wove,
And while the robins did not weave a nest
Within the snowy pear,
But went to build elsewhere,
Leaving the birdhouse empty and unblessed,
They shook the white pear-petals as they flew,
And added to
That gentle hail —
My spiral veil,
Stopping a while to watch me and to rest
Among the blossoms in an orchard grove.
Pear-blossoms have a scent like sugared fruit,
Or else a scent like flesh —
And, as the robin adds his solo flute
To the soft music of a day no longer fresh,
I think about a story that I heard —
The legend of a pear tree and a bird:
Once, a mighty goddess — chaste or loving, as she chose —
Loved a young Athenian boy
Who became her sacred king:
A symbol of that noble city,
Married to its deity
For just one year, or so the story goes.
And it was Athens' cruel command to fling
The city's chosen son
From the topmost temple wall
To die, upon the day his time was done.
The goddess was Athena, and from pity
For her former toy,
She did not let him fall,
But caught the crying youth in flight,
And he flew up to the light
Of shining Mount Olympus, home of joy,
Changed into a partridge, lest
Gratitude make him a pest.
There, he perches in her favorite tree,
Pet of the gods for all eternity.
Why do I like this tale so well —
And, why should it weave a spell
For making poems — a charm
On an old New Hampshire farm?
I do not know.
Meanwhile, the robins come and go;
The petals fall.
© 2008 by Ellin Anderson. All rights
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.