The mistletoe is back
Among the knitted twigs
Of the old apple tree.
And what is that to me?
My pruning hand still digs
And the old branches crack.

But where the bunch first grew
Is a great skeleton,
The berries and the leaves
For which my heart still grieves,
All, all are gone;
And so I love the new.

How rare now that I can
See new replace the old,
As, on the neighbouring bough
I see it now! The pleasure must be told,
And I am still a man.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 8 Number 1, on page 45
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