The Orchardists

Aaron Copeland and Anton Chekov
were orchardists and winter brothers.
How I love the flavors
in their unique hybrids!

Copeland’s winey apples of sound
burst with the smell of the prairies,
the tang of clean labor with horse and wagon
and the cider-drunk hoedowns
in farming towns along the Mississippi.

And Chekov! Grafting the luckless
and misbegotten with the divine ordinary!
I can see him in his study turning
a pear of an idea in his mind over and over,
examining the imperfections.

Ah, there it is, he says!
Masha shall confess to her sisters
that she is in love with commander Vershinin,
the one with the suicidal wife:

“My sisters … I’ve confessed,
now I shall keep silent … like Gogol’s madman.”

And that new strain gets passed down through the ages,
full of the hope and despair and life’s troubled journey
and yet surrounded by love and greatness of heart.
How can one not be filled with their joy?

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