Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This is the season of peaches

This morning, Matt finished reading Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood, and mentioned something about the poems interspersed throughout the novel. This reminded me that I hadn't looked at Atwood's poetry in a long time; however, when I picked up a book of her selected poems from the shelf, I had a hard time finding a poem that resonated with me (which tells me--maybe now is not the time to return to Atwood, but maybe in a couple more years). Instead, I found a poem that was evocative of the season. I may post something by a different poet later, but thought I'd share this poem for now.

Late August

This is the plum season, the nights
blue and distended, the moon
hazed, this is the season of peaches

with their lush lobed bulbs
that glow in the dusk, apples
that drop and rot
sweetly, their brown skins veined as glands

No more the shrill voices
that cried  Need  Need
from the cold pond, bladed
and urgent as new grass

Now it is the crickets
that say  Ripe  Ripe
slurred in the darkness, while the plums

dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow

The air is still
warm, flesh moves over
flesh, there is no


On my first read-through, my immediate thought was: "Of course there is need to hurry! Who's going to preserve all those plums and peaches!" This is just indicative of my shift in thinking--I want to preserve everything. But of course, the last line, set apart as it is, indicates the very opposite of what the literal words say. Reading this poem two or three times, I start to notice how insidious the ripeness is, how briefly it lasts. But I'll stop commenting now, and let you read the poem again on your own.


M Raese said...

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

zemmely said...

There were PLUMS in the fridge you weren't telling me about?!

Jarrad said...

Hello, what theme and subject matter do you think this poem has?

Jarrad said...

I am asking because I do not totally understand the poem and would like some guidance with the theme and subject matter of the poem... please.

zemmely said...

Jarrad--The subject matter of the poem is clearly the summer season and the fruits that ripen during it. However, you will have to pinpoint the theme of it yourself. I cannot do the work for you.

Jarrad said...

Thank you :)
I would suggest that the subject matter is more environment and lifespan and the theme would be the summer season and fruits that ripen in it and die off hence lifespan. Thanks