Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Free Verse

I found this today on Find Your Next Book Here (linking back originally to Ooh ... Books), and it's just a 'because it's Wednesday share a poem you like' kind of idea and it appealed to me. Anyway my mum bought me a lovely book for Christmas, entitled 'Rain' by Don Paterson and I read some of it the other night and was really struck with the first poem in the book, Two Trees. It is so wonderfully subversive, leading you to expect one thing and then undermining all your expectations at the end:

One morning, Don Miguel got out of bed
with one idea rooted in his head:
to graft his orange to his lemon tree.
It took him the whole day to work them free,
lay open their sides, and lash them tight.
For twelve months, from the shame or from the fright
they put forth nothing; but one day there appeared
two lights in the dark leaves. Over the years
the limbs would get themselves so tangled up
each bough looked like it gave a double crop,
and not one kid in the village didn't know
the magic tree in Miguel's patio.

The man who bought the house had had no dream
so who can say what dark malicious whim
led him to take his axe and split the bole
along its fused seam, then dig two holes.
And no, they did not die from solitude;
nor did their branches bear a sterile fruit;
nor did their unhealed flanks weep every spring
for those four yards that lost them everything,
as each strained on its shackled roots to face
the other's empty, intricate embrace.
They were trees, and trees don't weep or ache or shout.
And trees are all this poem is about.

(Two Trees, from Rain by Don Paterson, published by Faber and Faber ISBN 978-0-571-24957-2)


  1. Oh... I just love this poem!!!! A wonderful find! And I wanted to thank you for sharing the "One Perfect Rose" poem by Dorothy Parker this morning ... it was classic Parker. And isn't this meme wonderful? I've really been enjoying sharing different poems and seeing what others have to share. This one you shared is going on my list of favored poems!

  2. I've been reading this too. My immediate favourite is 'Why Do You Stay Up So Late?' but that might change as time goes on. 'The dull things of the day'...perfect.


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