His posture in these two pictures
indicates the kind of unaccustomed serenity he finally
achieved in having that domestic basis of their
lives. He was in his early 70's at the time of these
two snapshots, both taken during the same late summer
While Alter never became a devoted gardener,
he did like to do some weeding and pruning in the
backyard of his 23rd street elderly house. He didn't
do any planting or methodical stuff, but he relished
the serenity of his simple, quiet life.
Alter Esselin is standing on the back
porch of the 10th street house, and visible just behind
him are the spare branches of the tree that inspired
for a Tree. The window that the branches
of the tree can be seen to touch is the window through
which the poet converses with his companion tree during
the many nights they contemplate in each other.
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