Saturday, November 3, 2012


When I first visited my friend Lisa C.Taylor in Connecticut some years ago, it was October and Mulberry Road was a paint box of the richest colours. There was one tree outside her front door that caught my attention every morning. No one could tell me what it was called so I wrote the following poem in order to name it.

for Lisa and Russ

You bribed the leaves to hang on till I came
so I could read them in the way
they have come to shape you,
otherwise you would have to climb each tree
stitch them back up there,
match each leaflet and lobe to its own.

But they clung on for me to see butter melt,
claret spill onto branches just above my head,
persimmon leaves flaunt their brilliance
all along the Fenton river, the Grist Mill,
Horse Barn Hill, where I heard Canada geese
spearhead their going in a startle of blue.

Here I learned the argument of squirrel
that tight-roped its way across the limb of tree,
malachite lichen on the house-side of trunk,
autumn rushing ahead of me on the road, while

each morning in the warm nest of my room
I woke to the New World,
carrying dawn to my window
in a rose glow, blush, uplift of light,
− a shrub that you had no name for −,
but I have crossed an ocean to see it, so
I call it giftberry, carnaberry, stanzaberry.

Now thanks to Marc Kronisch, I have this beautiful photograph and an identification. Garden lovers will recognise it as Euonymus alata. It's common name is  Burning Bush.  It's poet name: Stanzaberry. Thank you Marc.  It is published in The Other Side of Longing (Arlen House, 2011) my collaboration with Lisa.