Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poem in the Post Gazette and Autumn inspires

Published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ode To the Apple

Oh pome of evil, of knowledge, of sin
plump and curved as a baby's buttocks.

Stolen from Greek myth
planted in Eden,
unnamed fruit of the Bible,
stuck in Adam's throat.

The lump
in my geeky boyfriend's neck, when I was a teen
made me want to touch the curious appendage
bobbed up and down
run my finger over it --

Fleshy pomaceous fruit of ripened ovary,
you propagate asexually,
you are self incompatible.
Who knew? The complications of a simple fruit.

Your pale pink flower turns virgin white
just before it falls,
you fall,
the fall of the human race to the ground under my neighbor's tree.
She wants to hack it down for the mess
of rotting fruit
in Autumn the crow flies
drops an apple from his beak into the lap of a king
brings forth a child

Fruit of fertility
or are you fruit of eternal youth?
Food for the dead?
A cure for cancer? The common cold?
An apple a day.

Cox's orange Pippin
Honey crisp, Braeburn, Erli Blaze, Granny Smith
Golden Delicious, Red delicious, delicious, crisp
sweet, juicy, tart delicious runs down my chin.

My son will eat the core and seeds,
lick his fingers clean.
Was it Macintosh, Fuji, Albany or Empire
Erwin Bauer or Gala that gave us
Gravity with a fall from the tree?

And which did my grandmother use?
forced through a sieve to make her sauce
that I have
never been able to recreate. The secret is
we ate it warm placed gobs on our upper lip and
licked it with tongues stretched to the nose.

Oh, fruit of the universe
waxy red polished to a scarlet shine
picked, bagged trucked year 'round
rows of red and green and yellow
line grocery shelves.

I prefer your golden skin flecked with brown
russety and pock marked,
textured and true
plucked from my neighbors tree in fall.

A gray squirrel scurries one away
leaves it in the corner on my window sill next to stolen tulip bulbs,
fallen green tomatoes from my garden,
he comes back for a nibble now and then.
Does he think I cannot see him?
Does he know the torment of the neighbor's cat below?
Tail twitching like a serpent. Oh!

The joy of forbidden fruit.

-- Karen Lynn Williams

And this lovely email from a reader makes it all worthwhile:

My husband and I were sitting at the table Satursday morning enjoying a guiet and relaxing time.  I was reading the paper and my eye caught your poem.  I do not read much, but I read your entire poem out loud to my husband and we discussed it at lengh.  I never did that before.  Poems have always been very difficult for me to understand, but I found by reading out loud and discussing each section, how easy it was to understand.  It was enjoyable -- never though I would say that about a poen!  I may read more poems from now on.  I have broadened my horizon one little bit today.  Thank you.

Autumn inspires my muse more than any other season; long rays of golden light filtered through orange and rust, deepening color and deepening life, prepare to give back.