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 )
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(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(23 July 1823 - 26 November 1896)
Walter de la Mare
(1873 - 1958)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)