Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

the other half of the pair -

Stanley Kunitz:

My Mother's Pears

Plump, green-gold, Worcester's pride,
    transported through autumn skies,
       in a box marked HANDLE WITH CARE

sleep eighteen Bartlett pears,
    hand-picked and polished and packed
       for deposit at my door,

each in its crinkled nest
    with a stub of stem attached
       and a single bright leaf like a flag.

A smaller than usual crop,
    but still enough to share with me,
       as always at harvest time.

Those strangers are my friends
    whose kindness blessed the house
       my mother built at the edge of town

beyond the last trolley-stop
    when the century was young, and she
       proposed, for her children's sake,

to marry again, not knowing how soon
    the windows would grow dark,
       and the velvet drapes come down.

Rubble accumulates in the yard,
    workmen are hammering on the roof,
       I am standing knee-deep in dirt

with a shovel in my hand. 
    Mother has wrapped a kerchief round her head,
       her glasses glint in the sun.

When my sisters appear on the scene,
    gangly and softly tittering,
       she waves them back into the house

to fetch us pails of water,
    and they skip out of our sight
       in their matching middy blouses.

I summon up all my strength
    to set the pear tree in the ground,
       unwinding its burlap shroud.

It is taller than I.  "Make room
    for the roots!" my mother cries,
       "Dig, the hole deeper."

There is something about this poem.  I always want to cry.
It is the mastery of Stanley Kunitz and the poignancy of those pears. 

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