Monday, April 5, 2010

Bearing Much Fruit (Poem)

Bearing Much Fruit

You shall know them by their fruits.
~ Matthew 7:16*

Oranges lemons limes
grapes figs and fish

plenty of shelves stocked
for pillage before a storm

bear one and the same
simple message always

stamped in plain black
in a code to which we have no key:

"Inspected by _____________."

What we buy we wash and rinse.
What we rinse we peel

as if removing the stain
of someone else's touch

is enough
to remove the bruise

on the apple's core.

We stuff the fig.
We bread the fish

as if changing texture or taste
in the mouth

or leaving meat unexposed
is the better for you

and so the better for me.

Away from the glare
of fluorescent-lit aisles

no longer pitching
to the blare of specials

ringing up in your ears
you notice the blemish

rendered yet again in faithfulness
to rule and regulation:

the tiny print beginning the list
of ingredients most to least

jumping to calories counted
with such patient obedience

to getting right
the additions you do not need

— the extra pinch of salt
the too-pink coloring of freshness —

registered in precise measurements
with utmost attention to detail.

You love how the system works

struggle to contain with self-control
the joy it gives you

knowing each and every time
you can count on it

not unlike what brought you
into this world

what you'd like to last forever.

You shop your fruits on your own now

examine them with the gentleness
of a loving teacher

who pointed out with kindness
just that once what was could be

and always will be

before turning you free forever more
to make your separate peace with what was

and is and might always be

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.

* American King James Version

See also Galatians 5:22-24 (New International Version): "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." In various other versions of the Bible, "longsuffering" replaces "patience", "meekness" replaces "gentleness", and "temperance" is used instead of "self-control".

I wrote this poem for the April 6 Blog Carnival, sponsored by Bridget Chumbley of One Word at a Time and Peter Pollock of Rediscovering the Church.

The Blog Carnival is a biweekly online event open to anyone. Participants write on a one-word prompt or topic. This week's is "gentleness".

Go here for a list of links to all of the contributions, which are posted throughout Tuesday and often sometimes through to the end of the week.

The Blog Carnival's FaceBook page is here.


Glynn said...

Oh, wow, Maureen, this is incredible. I've read it three times and keep finding new things. Wow squared.

Monica Sharman said...

"as if removing the stain
of someone else's touch

is enough
to remove the bruise

on the apple's core."

Ah, so much in those lines alone.
This is one I can't read just once.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately making peace with the imperfect. I love that!

Louise Gallagher said...

You've left me speechless. this is stunning.

And beautiful. And profound.


thank you my friend.


Kathleen Overby said...

Marcus paid you the ultimate compliment on your Daddy poem and it
could be said of this one; you earn the right for the length of it. I'm still chewing my cud on this. An exercise/intense workout for my feeble brain! :) Brilliant. Did you work hard on this or did it slither out easily?

Anonymous said...

I've read this a few times and I'm still not sure what to say. I guess wow and thank you, Maureen... are good for now.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

Everyone is right that there is much here to admire. I was stopped at the bruised apple as in, here is the heart of this poem and I wanted to see you then to to the lines on gentleness. I posted about failing love on my She Writes blog. Have at it and bravo once again! J

Unknown said...

My favorite part of this wonderful poem...

examine them with the gentleness
of a loving teacher

who pointed out with kindness
just that once what was could be

and always will be

Just so cool...thanks for sharing!


Unknown said...

Take a bow :) and dance your little dance. Lovely, what a blessing this one is - simple, direct yet indirect, delicate, purposeful.

Dave Fuller said...

So Maureen, I thumped this poem like a melon ripe with potential and took in the fragance like a good peach before it's cut, and as is most often the case, the inside exceeded the promise.
How do you do this time after time?

Kevin said...

Beautiful poem Maureen!

S. Etole said...

I've come back to this several times ... your writing always leaves me lacking for words.

Sandra Heska King said...

Yikes! And the Firstfruit was bruised because of His gentleness. Because we are bruised and imperfect.

andrea chiu said...

The food is absolutely amazing. I hope I could taste and cook that in actual, maybe if I have much time since I am so busy working. Anyways, thanks for sharing your article. God Bless and have a good day. Visit my site too.