Pére, pear, pair, pare.

My father in law is ill, poor pére.  He is in a nursing home at present, but I think he would prefer to be at home.  Can’t say too much here as these things are private.

Today I planted a pair of Pear trees.  I bought them as a valentines gift for Louise.  Actually I think they say a lot about us as a pair.  We are less about the ephemeral things and more about solid foundations.  A bunch of flowers is pretty for a while but soon dead and gone.  Two pear trees though, they live on.  They are bare sticks today but will yield beautiful flowers every spring and fine fruit every autumn.  And they endure, like our love.

And so to Pare.  I pared back a chestnut tree today.  Pretty radical paring job really.  More a demolition than a pruning.  It will make some nice fires next year when it is well seasoned.

So to a poem, well, it has to be about a pear and a nursing home, and it has to be about a ship too for my site.  Very tricky:

The Pear

By Jane Hirshfield

November. One pear
sways on the tree past leaves, past reason.
In the nursing home, my friend has fallen.
Chased, he said, from the freckled woods
by angry Thoreau, Coleridge, and Beaumarchais.
Delusion too, it seems, can be well read.
He is courteous, well-spoken even in dread.
The old fineness in him hangs on
for dear life. “My mind now?
A small ship under the wake of a large.
They force you to walk on your heels here,
the angles matter. Four or five degrees,
and you’re lost.” Life is dear to him yet,
though he believes it his own fault he grieves,
his own fault his old friends have turned against him
like crows against an injured of their kind.
There is no kindness here, no flint of mercy.
Descend, descend,
some voice must urge, inside the pear stem.
The argument goes on, he cannot outrun it.
Dawnlight to dawnlight, I look: it is still there.

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