Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bad Fruit (Poem)

Bad Fruit

Whole orange has no sharp edges,
no bones to bend round, no core

to cut from middle out. Its thick scent
holds firm behind leathered bitter rind,

nature's container of plumped and tender flesh,
ten carpels threaded with a clingy pith,

and seeded. Uncut, the pebbly shield
whose color gives it name betrays no rot

of essence, but subject to a winter's freeze,
orange sours without a change of face, the taste

of juice on tongue as sharp as words loosed
before the morning's glass is raised. Not

praised for what these wedges were, sweet
meat yielding pips into hands from squeeze,

but for the ways we swear to what we cannot
see: the damage that happens all too naturally.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

19 comments:

Katarina said...

Beautiful and evocative -- thanks Maureen. Great metaphor for the damage that's invisible on the outside but can be quite real, and that comes out and surprises us.

jen revved said...

This is exquisite-- I especially love:

Uncut, the pebbly shield
whose color gives it name betrays no rot

of essence, but subject to a winter's freeze,
orange sours without a change of face, the taste

of juice on tongue as sharp as words loosed
before the morning's glass is raised.

I notice that I use the article "the" far more than you do. I generally think that at times it strengthens or amplifies the referent and makes the sentence more definitive in some ways. xxxj

Brian Miller said...

so much only seen once you are through the skin...nice evocative piece maureen...

magicinthebackyard said...

i tried to pick out a favorite line, which is what i like to do for the authors i read, but...this one was so appealing, line after line, I could not possibly choose only one. your words are seductive and captivating. lovely read! thank you!

http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/the-widow/

Hannah Stephenson said...

Oranges---I love them and devour them like crazy.

I like how your poem considers these little, self-contained rottennesses/ripenesses.

Pat Hatt said...

Looking from the outside in, wonderful verse.

signed...bkm said...

well done..and the damage that happens all too naturally...love it..bkm

Claudia said...

the damage that happens all too naturally...what a great closure maureen..would love to hear that read..much like the rhythm and so much more than just oranges..

hedgewitch said...

Extremely well-executed metaphor, line by line perfect in drawing its parallels. Descriptively it sings, as well. Fine poem.

S. Etole said...

oranges so often disappoint with their promise of sweetness and yield of bitterness ...

tinkwelborn said...

Where do I begin? (isn't that Love Story?)
rhythm, rhyme, and (of course!) a Message!
rich poem. very well done. I am impressed.

wolfsrosebud said...

so thoughtful... nice presentation of self-worth

Charles Elliott/Beautyseer said...

Living myself in the Big Orange, this rings only too true. And the damage is not just due to winter cold -- which is sparse around here.

Sour grapes, rotten apples seem cliched in our lexicon, but not sour oranges.

Perhaps we should be quicker to pick and squeeze the sweetest things in our lives!

Cindy Brown said...

Wow. That's deep. I feel somewhat ashamed that I only see it as a piece of fruit after that introspective into what is "orange". Nice job! I once had to write a half-page description of a marshmallow for a descriptive writing class in high school. You would have gotten an A+ on that assignment I bet, LOL!

Shashi said...

So beautifully you have gave us this treat... I loved your lines...

"of juice on tongue as sharp as words loosed
before the morning's glass is raised. Not

praised for what these wedges were, sweet
meat yielding pips into hands from squeeze,"

Lovely...



Shashi
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/11/whispers-where-you-will-go.html

Semaphore said...

Life has such a balance between pith and sweetness. As this poem, first lyrical, then as biting as harsh words before the morning sip. Very inventive play with the metaphor.

Beachanny said...

You continue to impress me in the way you make every word count, in your precision of language, and in the tension you create in the poem, holding back, holding back and yet revealing until 'snap' at the end you release and reveal the metaphor in one breath. It keeps us holding ours to read you. Excellent as always.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

What a fantastic poem! mazing that you can take such a mundane subject and make it so enthralling. :)

Publish Poetry said...

this is a great read :D