COMING OF AGE

*Ripped and splintered from higher boughs,

&The gnarled last leaves, knots, seeds

‘Of another season’s glow lie rotten on

*A winter bed like so much trash, stripped

,Debris of limbs that in the sky cohere but,

(Still rose-hipped, rest so stiffly here

*Beneath the wide soft bandage of the air,

(Old body of the sun’s long look, unfair

+Perhaps when such a smock can turn to bone

+From the turning of a sphere alone, but in

A

(The turning well-insured: stuck upright

+In snow, and arrow-straight, a stick, what

ÿ

)Else, has in falling driven deep to loam

 

&Through the compost of a funeral heap

‘And even now has put down roots which,

,

‘Reaching toward the spring, show how a

‘Drive to settle and make safe can flow

(Through the strange wood’s barren wake.

 

Peter Halstead

March 7, 1984