Somewhere I read that when they finally staggered off the mountain into some strange town, past drunk, hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed, blood dried under broken nails and across young thighs, but still jeering and joking, still trying to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling dead asleep by the market stalls, sprawled helpless, flat out, then middle-aged women, respectable housewives, would come and stand nightlong in the agora silent together as ewes and cows in the night fields, guarding, watching them as their mothers watched over them. And no man dared that fierce decorum.
From Finding My Elegy by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 2012 by Ursula K. Leguin. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
Copyright © 2017 by Ada Limón. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.