Monday, April 25, 2016



The Offering

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

what remains—


14 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely passage, I too am aging like this lilac

Barb said...

Your writing is always to the heart. I got the chills reading this poem. I, too, offer what remains.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Lovely. Bloomin' lovely, in fact.

Pauline said...

OOTP - you are such a faithful follower, even when I'm gone for months at a time! Thanks for that :)

Barb- thank you! I am always pleased to know that what I write touches someone somewhere.

J Cosmo - haven't seen (or read) your blog for far too long - just rectified that. Thanks for keeping in touch!

Wisewebwoman said...

I have the very same one. Can't possibly cut it. Love your poem, it says it all and so very well.

XO
WWW

Tabor said...

Cut it back gradually. About a third or quarter at a time and allow the new growth to take its place.

Pauline said...

WWW - I won't be doing it anytime soon, not in its entirety anyhow.

Tabor - such good advice!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Such a beautiful and poetic piece...thank you for this.

Pauline said...

OE - so glad you stopped by to read, thereby leading me directly to your own page, one I had such fun perusing!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You are welcome! I am now following your wonderful blog :)

Hilary said...

Oh I can relate to this. There was a beauty of a lilac tree in the backyard of the townhouse where I lived for nearly thirty years. My next door neighbour and good friend would help herself to any of the blossoms which grew into her space.. some years it was sparse.. other times it was overwhelmingly bountiful. We both loved that tree. I went to visit her a couple of weeks ago and she showed me the carnage. The new owners didn't see it as we did. It had been chopped down completely.. before it could even bloom, this year. Sigh!

Your poem is beautiful, Pauline. You always see how perfectly nature intertwines with our lives. Thanks for that.

Kerry said...

Gorgeous poem, evocative and fragrant with life.

Hilary said...

Blogger messed with my comment! I know I dropped by here a while back and read this and commented.. but poof!

Your words, always lovely.. always real. When we bought our place where I lived for nearly 30 years, we moved in during May. I was thrilled to discover that there was a lilac tree in full bloom in my back yard. For decades, my next door neighbour and I enjoyed the blooms outside and in, whenever either of us took a bouquet for our table. I went to visit my past neighbour just last month and discovered that the new owners didn't see its charms and has recently removed the tree. I felt gutted.

Molly Bon said...


Love it all, especially the last four lines! Hope all is well. You've been very quiet....