This morning, while I was out for my daily dose of fresh air, I thought of this quote by Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” While we’ve been sheltering in place, washing our hands and worrying about the virus, mother nature has been busy carrying on with business as usual. Spring has arrived! Many fruit trees are in full bloom enjoying their few days of glory. They seem to be saying — and now I quote The Cat in the Hat — “Look at me, look at me, look at me, NOW!” Today’s poem by Li-Young Lee speaks to these fleeting blossoms and the “jubilant” peaches some will become.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Click here to hear Li-Young Lee read “From Blossoms.” As he reads and you follow along, which of his vivid images or phrases resonate with you? I like the idea of taking what we love inside and carrying an orchard within us. What about you? What strikes you about this poem?
Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” from Rose, 1986. Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes
Photo: Peach Blossoms at Orr’s Farm Market, WV