“Cherries” by Barbara La Morticella

Fireweed loves the yard
and the fire that conjured it
into the light.

And the scarlet elderberry
loves the old junkpile
          it leans against.

The morning glory smothers everything
in an embrace: the fence,
the wood workbench,
the rusted steel.

Here’s a summer day that’s so slow
even the light
          moves like honey;

Daisies jump fences
          and then just mill around.

Here’s a cherry tree that’s so rich
when it offers its heart to the birds,

every cherry
          is a year of cherries.

“Cherries” by Barbara LaMorticella


Barbara very kindly allowed us to feature “Cherries” here on Words for the Year, and even included this little bit of backstory. As I know many of you are William Stafford fans (waves to James R. especially), I thought you would enjoy her note:

I’m happy you like Cherries!   You may be interested in the back story:   I began this poem after I got back from a workshop with William Stafford (his one-week summer workshop was 1/3 of my formal poetry education!) I wasn’t able to finish it for a while (lacking Stafford’s famous ability to write a poem a day by simply saying “welcome, welcome” to everything that comes). But the last line came to me the next summer,  and I thought of Stafford… at 80,  it would be heartening to realize that every cherry is a year of cherries!  I presented it to him the summer after the workshop at what may have been the last poetry reading he gave before he died.