Last Autumn, all your leaves came down –
Just like they must each year.
But seeing them when dead and brown,
And unlike all the rest in town,
Is just too late, I fear.
I should have seen them all when green !
But now I wondered – what tree had we here ?
Big, they were, the largest, broadest leaves
In all this urban wood
And finger-lobed, for holding-up the eaves,
And poking now from gutter-sleeves
About the neighbourhood.
My thought was fig, with leaves that big,
Yet far too gropey to do Eve much good.
But I, alas, might never even know,
For once your leaves were shed –
The shears came out and brought you low,
As all your branches had to go
And left your trunk for dead.
No tree could sleep with cuts so deep –
You surely won’t be rising out of bed…
April was well underway before
Your twigs began to sprout.
And then, such tiny hands they bore,
As ev’ry day a couple more
To prove you yet were stout.
At this rate Fall would claim them all
Ere half the sun-grab hands were even out !
But then I looked a little lower,
Where some suckers crowd the roots –
While your wounds may heal the slower,
Round your foot you’re still a grower
Shooting out a dozen shoots.
Succour feeders, weed succeeders,
Sucking sunshine into fruits.
May saw plenty spindly upper twigs –
A hedgehog on each bough,
To carry leaves, so close, so big,
As if they’d snap right off the rig,
But seemed to cling on anyhow.
As June grew late, they put on weight
As fleshy forearms now.
By summer, something stirred in me,
A memory about the bumps
That swell no larger than a pea –
They’re really next’s year’s fruits-to-be.
But here, of course, there were no lumps –
For what life stirred was secateured
Down to your barest stumps.
So will I have to wait another year
To see your fruits in Fall ?
I wonder if I’ll still be here…
You will, of course, that much is clear –
You’re bursting branches big and small.
Unless your twigs are lacking figs
Because you never were a fig at all…