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Two winter plum trees grow beside my door.
Throughout the cold months they had little pink
Flowers all over them as if they wore
Nightdresses, and their branches, black as ink
By sunset, looked as if a Japanese
Painter, while painting air, had painted these
Two winter plum trees. Summer now at last
Has warmed their leaves and all the blooms are gone.
A year that I might not have had has passed.
Bare branches are my signal to go on,
But soon the brave flowers of the winter plums
Will flare again, and I must take what comes:
Two winter plum trees that will outlive me.
Thriving with colour even in the snow,
They’ll snatch a triumph from adversity.
All right for them, but can the same be so
For someone who, seeing their buds remade
From nothing, will be less pleased than afraid?