April 20: Japanese Maple
“Rouge leaves” in your native tongue;
a rouge also called “blush” or “scarlet.”
Red even in spring
while all else is green and pink.
Crimson cascade of color
feathery, billowing Japanese maple
this child’s playground for a succession of summers
offering one arm for swinging over bumpy roots
other arms for a seated audience.
Elegantly pointed leaves
beckoning to amateur climbers like us
Trunk opening at the base, tulip-like;
Hearty boughs extending into a welcome
A truly giving tree.
It was only when I came to these shores
and saw your kin
that I realized what a rarity you were
on Broad Street, Pennsylvania.
In our yard new maple roots go down
and a mere twig clothed in velvety ruby leaves
sticks out of the ground.
She stands her ground
She stands up to the wind,
tough as the robust holly and pine to her left.
Long may she thrill us.