Outside my door grows a lilac
planted 86 years ago,
a venerable tree, gnarled with age,
leaning so close to the ground
that it would lie flat
if it were not propped up by sticks.
Every year it blooms.
It puts out leaves and blossoms,
fewer and fewer each spring
but still, there they are,
green and purple, soft and scented,
and I cannot bear the thought,
a thought that comes each time I
look at it, that I must cut down the old tree,
give the new young shoots
that have sprung up from the mother root
a chance of their own to grow up
and out and old.
Maybe next year, I think. Or maybe
in ten years, when I will be 80.
Maybe then the tree and I will
accept the changes age demands.
Now, in the pale spring sunshine,
the new leaves unfurl, the tight buds
set last autumn expand.
Like an old woman who once was
lush and ripe and beautiful,
the tree, remembering, offers