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Collected Poems

The Pomegranate Tree

The Pomegranate Tree

Where the wild red rata
and clematis grow
and the drooping kowhai
lets fall her golden snow,
once I found a pomegranate,
leafless, unburgeoning,
lonely as a captive
Eastern king.

So amazed was I
that this strange, bizarre,
magical tree
should have strayed so far,
that I laid me in the grass
for a couple of hours,
forgetting I had come
to gather flowers.

Then I bethought me
of a thousand things,
of dark Arabian tales,
and forgotten kings,
of a prophet's vision,
page 193 and a moon that shone
in the silver forests
of Lebanon.

I thought of a poet,
of two long dead—
a storied Princess
and her Grecian lad
who loved in deep meadows
and by woodland streams,
and built tall castles
of their slender dreams.

All these whimsies
came floating to me,
as I lay enchanted
by that Eastern tree.
But the pomegranate stood
stock still in despair,
with her buds all frozen
and her branches bare.