A visit from The Healing Muse: 'Apple Tree Time'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selection is "Apple Tree Time" by Dale Shank. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
[00:00:00] Dale Shank is the founding editor of the fiction journal "Black Ice." Dale's work appears in "Akros Review" and the "University of Portland Review." The poem "Apple Tree Time" celebrates life, friendship and aging with both wisdom and grace.
[00:00:17] "Apple Tree Time"
[00:00:19] A winter morning pruning apple trees
[00:00:21] with friends
[00:00:22] Is an exercise in aging.
[00:00:24] We do not hear a clock ticking.
[00:00:27] We cannot see the trees growing older.
[00:00:30] Time can be counted as much by
[00:00:31] the rhythms of branches being cut
[00:00:34] As by words between us.
[00:00:38] A winter morning pruning apple trees
[00:00:40] with friends
[00:00:41] Is an exercise in optimism.
[00:00:43] As we work our way from Gravenstein
[00:00:46] to Red Delicious to Northern Spy,
[00:00:48] Cutting the gnarled, the dead, the misshapen limbs,
[00:00:52] We believe, implicitly, we will be back
[00:00:55] In the spring when the trees are in bloom
[00:00:58] Or at least by fall when the apples are ripe.
[00:01:02] We tell ourselves these cuts are kind,
[00:01:05] a requisite for rejuvenation.
[00:01:08] We tell ourselves time is an ally.