Saturday, November 04, 2006
In the soft light of afternoon
The pear leaves glow like glints of opal
And I have been told these crimson colors
Are made by the leaves at the end of their lives
But no one knows why.
One day we will know
And those leaves will glow in the soft light
Even more marvelously because we know.
Commentary: I had been reading an ongoing discussion on The Loom about why leaves turn color. Often we are told that the colors arise from other pigments that are rendered visible when the chlorophyll breaks down. That seems to be true for some pigments but not the bright red pigments present in some leaves such as these pear leaves. These are produced in the fall by the leaves and may have some sort of adaptive significance. You might want to visit the discussion at the Loom and get the details.
I hope a little reflection will yield what the poem is really about.