Saturday, July 18, 2009

Velvet and Luminous

In his collection Elemental Odes, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has written some of the most sensuous love poems in history. Consider this excerpt from Ode to the Onion:

In the garden, the earth heaped up her power showing your naked transparency and as the remote sea in lifting the breasts of Aprhodite duplicated the magnolia, so did the earth make you.

Yes, one can write a love poem about a vegetable or a fruit.

Like the intoxicating and voluptuous apricot. Three pickings already this week and now they are dozing in boxes in the basement, ripening, ripening.

Evenings I break a sweat carving their little orbs into the makings of luminescent preserves, racks loaded for the fruit dryer and quarts of perfect halves floating in their exquisite nectar.

Poet and professor David Wagoner talks about feeling like he was using the same words over and over in his poems. When he examined his work, he found the six words that his poetry lived on: wind, bird, tree, water, grass, and light.

Apricot is one of my words.

I feel a sense of embarrassment every time the apricot appears in another of my poems, but I can’t help it. Sometimes they just sneak in there. And this is definately one of those moments. They are such a gift.

Canyon Apricots

And come the long baked days of summer
I return for the harvest glowing
among the fluttering leaves. Velvet
shoulders gently plucked from stems,
and lolling in my palm, the succulence
of blushing cheek and silken cleft.
Again my lips reach for tender skin
the burst of flesh, sweet quenching
I can not swallow enough of.
And all this for simply needing and finding
what was left by those before us
hidden here among the rims and benches.