Fire Blight

Deborah Dashow Ruth

On the hill behind my house
a solitary pear tree stands.
Full-grown leaves at each branch tip
hang black and shriveled as if burned --
a disease spread through its pearly blossoms
by late spring rain and early bees.
Yet this poor pear, despite affliction,
flowers and bears firm sweet fruit.
Knowing my own need to bloom,
how deep its roots, I take this vow:
To keep on bearing until I die,
not the belly fruit born of pairing,
but harvest from my inner mood,
bred parthenogenetic — in solitude.


Deborah Dashow Ruth, former English teacher and university administrator at the University of California Extension, Berkeley, writes both poetry and plays. A number of journals and anthologies have published her poems, two of which were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She's been a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers since 1991 and the Dramatists' Guild since 2003. Her first poetry collection, Joyriding on an Updraft, was published in 2016 by Sugartown Publishers. One of her short plays won First Prize in the 2012 McLean Drama Company's Annual 10-Minute Play Contest.

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