Poem by Mark O’Donnell


The fruit surrenders to the ground.
The wind must spread old news around.
The living shrink into their trees
to genuflect to earth’s disease.

The snow that falls conceals the fruit.
Its reticence is absolute.
What summer ruins or improves
the snow’s amnesia removes.

The globe tilts sheepish in its path
around the sun’s potential wrath,
so snow concedes to hungry things
again. The trees call back their wings.

The earth maintains its lexicon.
The orchards avenues go on —
the boundless code bound in the cell,
the sea heard rushing in the shell.

There is no end of ending days.
Love never dies, love never stays.
New hillsides feel the old surprise.
Love never stays, love never dies.


This poem first appeared in EPIPHANY, Jeff Gustavson’s quarterly.

MARK O’DONNELL’S poetry has appeared in Epiphany, Canto, Ploughshares, The New Republic, Harvard Magazine, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and other journals. Knopf has published four books of his fiction, and he won a Tony as co-author of the musical HAIRSPRAY.

1 thought on “Poem by Mark O’Donnell

  1. It’s a wonderful poem…deeply learned truths… love is the only thing that’s ever left… Thanks for this one.

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