Hugging its trellis, backed by sunny bricks,
this tree will never cast a shadow. Splayed
symmetrically, arboreal crucifix,
its aim in life appears to be to trade


its three dimensions for a tidier two.
You say it makes you wince, that rigid reach
to left and right. But all that gardeners do
along these lines ensures the tender peach


firm buttressing against the wind, and sun’s
largesse enlarged on a south-facing wall.
Such fruits are juicier than unfettered ones
whose laden branches splinter as they sprawl.


What am I saying? What we call a fetter
may be a means of turning green to gold.
Words, I have found, abide the seasons better
spread to the light in meter’s faithful hold.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 Number 2, on page 40
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