Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Depths of Plum

"Slivka" by Maciarka - Own work. Licensed under 
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 
The plum tree out front has been ransacked by the local squirrel population.  As soon as the green fruit appeared, I started seeing them sampling the fruit.  The last few weeks, as soon as I spotted a deep violet globe in the depths, a squirrel would be on it in a flash, chirruping gleefully.

Reading an essay last weekend I ran across Natasha Trethewey’s elegant poem Tableau with it's warm images of plums, so plump I wanted to pluck them off the page and eat them.  Which reminded me of William Carlos Williams' short poem This is Just to Say...which I imagined could inspire the squirrels to ask me for forgiveness.

I have eaten
the plums
that were on
your tree 
and which
you were probably
of turning into jam 
forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so warm.

As I hung laundry out to dry in today's warm breezes, perhaps prompted by the images of the man's hands on the plum in Trethewey's poem, my hands moving on the line reminded me of my great-grandmother's hands hanging out laundry behind her warm sandy brick house in Illinois. The rhythm of it as she hung the sheets. Clip, slide, smooth, clip.  The snap of sheets in the wind.

1 comment:

  1. Your mention of hanging out the laundry reminds me of the diaper days - yes, I used cloth diapers for my three children. I believed that they were better for them (and for the environment) if they hung outside winter and summer. There is a gentleness to doing things slowly, like hanging out the laundry rather than tossing it in the dryer. It is a different pace and one that needs to be recaptured.