“Orchard with Blossoming Trees” (1888, oil on canvas)
by Vincent van Gogh
“Bloomy Apple Garden” (1936)
by Nikolay Bogdanov Belsky
“Fruit Trees in Blossom” (1910-11)
by Edvard Munch
“Apple Trees in Blossom” (1896)
by Isaac Levitan
“Orchard in Bloom. Neskuchnoye” (1908)
by Zinaida Zerebriakova
“Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme”
by Childe Hassam
“Apricot Tree in Blossom” (1942)
by Martiros Saryan
“Cherry Tree in Bloom” (1905, oil on canvas)
by Ferdinand Hodler
“Peach Trees in Blossom” (1888, oil on canvas)
by Vincent van Gogh
“Apple Tree, I” (1912, oil on canvas)
by Gustav Klimt
“Lilacs in the Sun” (1872)
by Claude Monet
“Apple Tree after Rain” (1906)
by Mikhail Larionov
“Bluhende Baume” (1935, oil on canvas)
by Ernst Stocker
“Cottonwood Tree in Spring” (1943)
by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Flowering Plum Tree, Eragny” (1894, oil on canvas)
by Camille Pissarro
“Almond Tree in Flower” (1947)
by Pierre Bonnard
“Apple Trees in Full Bloom at Giverny”
by Claude Monet
“Cherry Tree Blossoms”
by Jozsef Rippl-Ronai
“Apple Tree Blooming aka The Eternal Spring” (1908)
by Maurice Denis
Sunday Afternoon Saudade
Here. Have some spring blossoms, scents of apple, peach, lilac, and plum. Listen to some music. Read a poem.
Music by Natalie Walker, “Waking Dream”
What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?
Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
despite your birthdays & the death certificate,
& it one day shades the heads of something beautiful
or makes itself useful to the nest. Walk out
of your house, then, believing in this.
Nothing else matters.
All above us is the touching
of strangers & parrots,
some of them human,
some of them not human.
Listen to me. I am telling you
a true thing. This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching;
the touches of the disappearing, things.
A Poly-Grecian Urn: Wal-Mart, Easter Weekend, 1998
Half-ravished by the first light touch of sun
on winter-languid skin, and air’s slow stir—
ardent, close—across bare limbs, we’ve come
for potting soil, for silver-bladed trowels,
for the brightest daubs of color we can bear
away, pre-blossomed in black plastic flats
of vinca, dianthus, pansies. Months too late
to raise the tulips’ complex pulse, we praise
instead the ready-made, until it takes
the squat shape of this bastard child of Keats.
Maybe we’ve come to this—all that remains,
the pointless simulacrum of a choice:
white or green, it’s plastic either way,
machine-stamped in the hollow shape of loss.
Or is this too much to make of a cardboard nest
of two-part urns, bowls and bases packed
as snug as bullets in a magazine,
arranged for sale in monochromatic stacks,
the scraps of half-truth and cheap beauty rent
to pieces by this dying century?
The two of us are young enough to dream
we’ll make it out alive, somehow escape
the burden of our genes and history
to start again, unstained. From the rotting corpse
of a lion he’d killed, Samson took honey, ate,
and found it sweet, but then slew thirty men
because of it. Like him, we crave the taste
of something drawn from death, but can’t be sure
if fingers drip with syrup or with gore.
Or both. Nothing we touch is innocent.
A block away, pale-bellied leaves, wind-wheeled,
invoke the storm, but just beyond the gate,
my neighbor’s yard’s a fuchsia-tinted peace
of statuary petals, as if the air
were stunned to silence, stillness, by the brute
beauty of a redbud’s blooms. I go inside,
come back to limbs still shaking, stripped of leaf
and blossom, and sidewalks scrawled in a green hand
just clear enough for me to read the truth,
that beauty couldn’t even save itself.
I fill the urn with pansies, purple, white,
and pink, but nothing lives past the first rain,
when water pools around a sodden welt
of storm-pressed flowers. The planter doesn’t drain;
its certitude drowns everything I put
in it. I dump the slop of store-bought loam
and flaccid stems, then cut thin slits to bleed
the water out, and try again, a need
to keep something alive, if nothing more
than these doomed blossoms in a plastic pot.