this year, last year

One year ago, I posted this:

Most trees have leafed out for two or three days.
Each leaf unfolding in place to fill its space, green;
But the trees that flowered are wilting now,
Bold blooms shrinking to leave more space between,
Dwindling to stipples along each bough.
Superimposed: a lacy screen, damascened,
Patches on a slate background--the dripping sky--
Grey except at some hidden place where a break
Must let the sun flood up to certain high
Shingles, a wire, a spire that's a streak
Of brilliant white. All silent, a still sheen,
Sheer, stretched thin to fade or end in a blaze.

It was a different time. Also a different place: I wrote it in our usual home in Cambridge, MA, but we have been sheltering for weeks in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard.

I will say one thing for the poem: it is precisely described. “Wire” and “spire” are convenient rhymes, and they probably look forced, but I actually watched the slender white spire of Memorial Church and a telephone wire, both lit from below by a band of setting sun breaking through low clouds.

(Other poems on this site.)

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.