From your school days you may remember A. E. Housman's poem that begins, "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now/ Is hung with bloom along the bough." Here's a look at a blossoming cherry, done 120 years later, on site among the famous cherry trees of Washington, by D.C. poet Judith Harris.
In Your Absence
Not yet summer,
but unseasonable heat
pries open the cherry tree.
It stands there stupefied,
in its sham, pink frills,
dense with early blooming.
Then, as afternoon cools
into more furtive winds,
I look up to see
a blizzard of petals
rushing the sky.
It is only April.
I can't stop my own life
from hurrying by.
The moon, already pacing.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2007 by Judith Harris, whose most recent collection of poems is "The Bad Secret," Louisiana State University Press, 2006. Reprinted by permission of Judith Harris. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:
- The Ted Kooser Page: Links to online Interviews, Recordings, Poetry, Prose, Reviews, Photos and more;
- American Life in Poetry #149: Linda Pastan;
- American Life in Poetry #146: Marvin Bell;
- American Life in Poetry #109: Sue Ellen Thompson;
- American Life in Poetry #107: Naomi Shihab Nye;
- American Life in Poetry #81: Tess Gallagher;
- American Life in Poetry #70: Sharon Olds;
- American Life in Poetry #68: Wendell Berry;
- American Life in Poetry #51: Jim Harrison;
- American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson;
- More from American Life in Poetry >>>