There was an apple tree in the yard --
this would have been
forty years ago -- behind,
only meadows. Drifts
of crocus in the damp grass.
I stood at that window:
late April. Spring
flowers in the neighbor's yard.
How many times, really, did the tree
flower on my birthday,
the exact day, not
before, not after? Substitution
of the immutable
for the shifting, the evolving.
Substitution of the image
for relentless earth. What
do I know of this place,
the role of the tree for decades
taken by a bonsai, voices
rising from the tennis courts --
Fields. Smell of the tall grass, new cut.
As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.
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Comments about this poem (Nostos by Louise Gluck )
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Rainer Maria Rilke
(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1644 - 1694)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
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