Arthur Vogelsang

June 12, 2014 Vogelsang Arthur



I am a plastic tree, naturally

My close friends the fruit fall away when that secret

Comes out.  A character flaw

That can’t be fixed except by replacing me

With a wooden, juicy, rooted, barky

Original from a nursery.  Can’t hurt me, I’m polyvinyl,

So go ahead, dig.

There, it’s in place and I’m gone.

One criticism, ok?  The newby’s friends,

Who are fruit, as were mine, remember . . .

These friends are supposed to go away

And come back each year, this is healthy,

This is why I was replaced.

My same ardent thought each day—

In my brain a wish over and over—

I hope there is no next year.

Which is kind of hateful for everybody.


If you think that’s harsh

Wait’ll you get a load of my thorns.

I have many friends among the trees.

Yes, they like the bees and the bees don’t like me.

But I’m exotic, handsome, not a blemish,

And I have many friends among the trees,

We have a lot in common.

I could take the hate back for their sake.

They need a next year, like the fruit,

Like the rest of us, except me.

Yes, I was wishing for a hateful apocalypse.

I have no friends among the fruit.

The fruit and the trees, who are very close,

Discuss me constantly and silently.

Back and forth along branches, stems,

Roots, trunks, skin, leaves, and

In the noisy complication of the talk of bees,

They gossip: “He’s exotic, he’s perfect,

His thorns are marvels, but he’s . . . you know.”

I think I’ll take it back anyway.

Why be hateful?  Maybe things will be different next year.

Put some brown paint over my brain.

OK, there, first stanza dead and gone.





It is either worse or better than they’ve said.

Suppose there is no end.

Suppose there is an end but no new beginning.

Suppose there is an end then a new beginning.

You pick.

Now that you’ve done that

What’s the difference?

I don’t want to hear about it.

I’ve stuck my head in the sand, or

In the mud, whatever, you pick.

So I can’t face the facts, so I can’t face anything.

Here’s one for you.

Suppose there was no beginning

But here we are anyway.  Good.  That’s it,

Like a loose trap that keeps springing loose.

Arthur Vogelsang‘s seven books of poetry include A Planet (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983) and Orbit (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).  Twentieth Century Women (University of Georgia Press, 1988) was chosen by John Ashbery for the Contemporary Poetry Series.