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Why I Plant Redbuds

From the April 2019 Print Edition

“If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today.” —attributed, probably incorrectly, to Martin Luther Whether he really owns the aphorism,or it belongs to someone else instead(perhaps it’s a rabbinic witticism),it sounds like something Luther might . . . . Continue Reading »

Stealing Pears

From the June/July 2017 Print Edition

Iniquity, O Lord, can be delicious:always in season, always tender, sweet,blushing, and aromatic. Not capriciousit always hangs low, begging us to eat.One night, I stripped a neighbor’s tree of pears—not grade A pears, but seconds grown for swine—taking them not because the fruit was . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis After Collestrada

From the January 2016 Print Edition

Our army met Perugia’s on the plainbeside the hospital. All day we foughtwith crossbow, sword, and lancet to obtainour freedom, but by dusk it came to naught.So I became a prisoner of men,as glorious as a rat holed in its nest,and mourned for joys I might not taste again,considering him pierced . . . . Continue Reading »

The Day the Rain Began

From the March 2012 Print Edition

Genesis 7:12 Today seemed just an ordinary day. The sun rose like an irritated eye; wives cooked rice pancakes; children went to play at tag in dusty fields or caught frogs by the banks of the Euphrates; while the men took to the brick kilns, potters’ wheels, and plows; lovers arose to make . . . . Continue Reading »

Political Calendar

From the Aug/Sept 2011 Print Edition

Spring like a popular insurrection rises against a winter government’s assizes; gone mad by June, its liberality gives way to summer’s fruitful anarchy. Order returns in autumn as the air with libertarian chill grows doctrinaire. Displacing fall, the winter vows to keep a Tory world, . . . . Continue Reading »

Drought Breaker

From the March 2011 Print Edition

Two years of drought seem broken by a deluge that would be the wrath of God were it not mercy. No doubt some prophet has spoken to Heaven for us and obtained a grace sufficient to wash away all memory of withered crops, clear skies, dry wells, and the taste and texture of dust in the teeth. No . . . . Continue Reading »