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Books & Poetry

Poem: Manchurian Pear

Books & Poetry

Autumn leads to spring, said a famous philosopher, and in this week’s Poet’s Corner Valerie Volk agrees.

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Manchurian Pear

A small tree
barely knee-high
the day I patted careful earth
around its base
watered it with loving hands
and dreamed of
flaming autumn colour.

I’d revelled every year
in the blazing beauty of the Hills
and thought to recreate
this splendour on the plains.

Few joys as great
as seeing my tree grow,
a mingled awe and pride
that something I had planted
could so mysterious and inchoate,
survive, grow, flourish,
become more
than I had envisioned.

I waited, watching eagerly,
to see its first autumnal splendour,
a gradual deepening into crimson,
a glowing burning colour
to fire the heart and soul.

Until there started that inevitable
drift to waiting earth,
sadly, irrevocably,
last leaves – only a few –
left on my Manchurian Pear
still vivid scarlet.
Why are the final moments best,
most colourful,
a flourish at the finish?

But then I noticed
swelling buds of new growth
on the boughs…

Valerie Volk was born in Melbourne, where writing life began with a set of fairy tales, an inspiring English teacher’s introduction to Robert Browning, Valerie’s editing of her school newspaper and magazine, and writing and editing for her university’s literature club magazine. She holds a Diploma of Education, a BA Hons, and an MA of Education from Melbourne University, plus an MA in Creative Writing from Tabor College in Adelaide and a PhD in Gifted Education from the University of New South Wales. Various teaching and examiner positions in Victoria and Queensland led to the same in Adelaide in 1982, where she now lives in retirement. The author of a number of recognised books and chapbooks that include poetry collections, verse novels and adaptive fiction, she has been a past regular contributor to InDaily Poet’s Corner, and more details about her and her works can be found both here and here.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.


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