THE ORCHARD IS FERAL
I’ve let the orchard go feral.
We offer it nothing but water
And take nothing,
But leave it to the bees
Who sing among the blossoms,
And to the squirrels who gather
The oranges and grapefruits
That fall and scatter.
The lemons and oranges
Have mated on their own
And maybe they will remain coupled
Or maybe they will sort themselves out
To their own original natures.
This time the old elm is dying.
A very few branches have leaves.
There will be none next year
Except for the sapling that is streaking
Toward the sky. I thought I might die
With the elm, and wonder if its progeny
Means a new birth for me. It is, after all,
From the old root.
Everything must have its way.
The oak that planted itself
Created its own field of being,
So the others accommodate
To its shady dominance.
The creatures eat
But they do not slaughter.
The old, old ways insist
That the animals can teach us.
The difference between their natural order
And our domination.
The plumbago expands between
The eucalyptus that plant themselves,
Increasingly at the border, providing
Shelter for the squirrels and a thrasher,
Occasional quail and a flock of brown birds
Who prefer to remain anonymous.
We are advised not to plant these trees
As they will burn hot and fast
When the great fires comes. But
It is their will to abide here,
And who am I to deny them their home?
They are no more immigrant than I
And also, at this time, they are
Calling the cools winds to them,
The heat of the neighboring meadow
Entirely dispelled by their fluttering arms.
And, you must understand that
We are in a conversation about
What it will take for them
To call down the rain -
But only for the frogs
And the non-human creatures -
From this desert blue sky.
– Deena Metzger April 20, 2013
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