Week 20: Apple Country, by Alison Brackenbury

Apple Country

I am living, quite unplanned, by apple country.
Worcesters come the earliest: sea green
with darkest red, even the flesh, veined pink.
They have a bloom no hand can brush away
sweet breath made visible. But do not think
to have them through the dark days: they’ll not keep,
for that choose Coxes flecked with gold
which wrinkle into kindness, winter’s fires.

Where I was born they let no flowering trees
in the bare fields, which grow my dreams, which hold
only the lasting crops: potato, wheat.
How low the houses crouch upon their soil
with fruitless hedges; at the barn’s end, cars:
none yours. I have no art for probing back
to such dark roots. yet if you pass this place
though skies shine lean with frost, no softness dapples
white wall to cave of leaf, yet stranger, knock.

For I will give you apples.

Alison Brackenbury

A poem no doubt laden with symbolism, apples being potent in myth from Avalon to the Hesperides, but these are real apples too and real country, lovingly rendered, and in the end no myth is better than the fact.


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