Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just one poem like this

Here’s the thing about being a poet. I always love the next poem that I’m writing. Then I read a poem by a new poet like Rebecca Dunham and I think, Oh, I’ll never write anything that good. I should quit. Then, time passes, just a few hours usually, and I think, OK, I’m going to write a poem like that, and I’m off writing again.

Here’s the poem from the Poetry Daily site, www.poems.com

Curator Of Fruit
—Isabella Dalla Ragione, arboral archaeologist

It is the old women I love
most, the remembered
piles of pear, plum, apple,
cherry, peach, medlar,
& quince that they cellared
beneath their nuptial beds,
where it was cool. How I want
to possess the smell
& taste of all that's past,
to graft scion & rootstock,
bind them tight. I desire
life itself, to turn my land
heavy with musked
orbs of imperfect fruit.
A rutted road thrusts over
potato fields to the Fiorentina
tree, black-freckled pear,
its bark split & gowned
in a lichen intricate white.
The life I've chosen is not
my own. I know that many
could say the same: the trees,
blushing old women.
It is no cause for complaint.
Marriage is a stony bed,
is want. Inedible flesh
bagged in its spotted skin,
the sap's inexplicable rise
to sky, & early morning, love
heavy with the smell of winter
pears, firm & crisp & cold.

Rebecca Dunham

There's a note attached which says: ""Curator of Fruit" is indebted
to John Seabrook's article on Isabella Dalla Ragione in The New
Yorker, September 5, 2005."

There is a great review of Rebecca Dunham’s book, The Miniature Room, here.

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