An old woman I never met
gave me her trees,
the trees of her heart,
the trees of her home,
trees that were, themselves,
at the time of the giving,

a time that was long after
the old woman
had used the apples
to feed her children,
her grandchildren,

a long time after
her tired feet no longer
walked the ancient orchard,
when only her ghost
collected the wind-falls
into her apron for safe keeping.

And now,
these apples
have fed my children too,
her great, great grandchildren,
and it’s down to me
to save her trees,
oh, not from dying,
for these old tree people
are surely on their way,
following after her.

But, if I am clever,
if I am worthy,
tiny slips of the Old Ones
will survive
and grow into a new
Ancient Orchard
for me to give away

Perhaps to someone
I’ll never meet,
To a new future grandmother,
My trees given again
After I am an old woman.

©2019 Annette Meserve

4 thoughts on “Orcharding

  1. annette48 says:

    Thanks! Since my husband’s great grandmother brought these trees on buckboard wagon when her family came to homestead, it’s important to us that we preserve them as purely as we can. They’re all different types and the trees themselves have individual histories within our orchard. Unfortunately, I am a beginner and so am not certain I can save them before the old folks die. Working at it though!

  2. Anonymous Agrarian says:

    Lovely poem, and lovely bench! The rare orchardist who roots apple cuttings rather than grafting is a throwback to another time before suburban yards and mechanized harvesting requiring dwarfed trees. Keep up the nostalgic work.

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