Not the dried plum, the act of cutting back. To prune.
to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots)
to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim
to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable)
to remove (anything considered superfluous or undesirable)
1400–50; late Middle English prouynen < Middle French proognier to prune (vines), variant of provigner, derivative of provain scion (< Latin propāgin-, stem of propāgō; see propagate)
This is the time of year to prune. Prune your fruit trees. Cut back on your finances. Economise. Review your insurance, your direct debits, your outgoings. Choke off the losses. Lose weight. Focus on the framework, the fundamentals, review your career. Springclean your home, clear out the built up dross.
In Chinese Feng Shui the rule is clear, if your career is stalled clear out your attic.
Slash your friends list on social media. Kill off the lampreys. This is the time to prune. Slim down for the year ahead.
Do it now.
Mirror in February ; by Thomas Kinsella
The day dawns, with scent of must and rain,
of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air.
Under the fading lamp, half dressed – my brain
idling on some compulsive fantasy –
I towel my shaven jaw and stop, and stare,
riveted by a dark exhausted eye,
a dry downturning mouth.
It seems again that it is time to learn,
in this untiring, crumbling place of growth
to which, for the time being, I return.
Now plainly in the mirror of my soul
I read that I have looked my last on youth
and little more; for they are not made whole
that reach the age of Christ.
Below my window the wakening trees,
hacked clean for better bearing, stand defaced
suffering their brute necessities;
and how should the flesh not quail, that span for span
is mutilated more? In slow distaste
I fold my towel with what grace I can,
not young, and not renewable, but man.