Monday, August 31, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Volunteer Peach Tree” by Carol Hamilton, Poet of the Month

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Volunteer Peach Tree” by Carol Hamilton, Poet of the Month.  Ms. Hamilton will also be serving as the guest judge for the Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest, which will begin accepting entries TOMORROW, September 1, and run through October 15, 2015.  A detailed biography of Ms. Hamilton may be found here:  The contest guidelines may be previewed here:

Volunteer Peach Tree
Carol Hamilton

Its trunk is on my side
of the chain link fence,
but its heavy branches
poked above his grass as well.
Last year I plucked bites
of sunshine from among
that gloss of green leaves.

With good pruning I prepared
for a few more tastes
of paradise this year,
but late March every blossom
that dared the gray sky
turned to tiny globes of ice
like beads of Cloisonné.

Redbuds and peach blossoms
and Bradford pear flowers
and limb and branch and twig
turned to glamorous glitter
before they fell down. 
He said I would have
no peaches this year.

I spaced the tiny green nobs
anyway and sticky deformities
grew on each blossom end.
Yesterday I found one
half-bruised fruit and saw
another peachy-toned
and high-up.

I ate the good half,
dropped the pit. My crops
are usually miniscule anyway,
but just a taste or two of something
real keeps me out in the sun
weeding, turning soil for hours.
Soon I will taste ripe figs.

Poet’s Notes:  So many of my gardening ventures end in failure that I am overcome with gratitude when some unlooked-for gift appears in my yard. The butterfly bush I planted at my back fence line did behave in peculiar ways. It never bloomed all summer, as promised, but only in spring. Were I a little less enthusiastic and a bit more attentive to my efforts, I would surely have realized my mistake.

Such unexpected, though scant, harvests enchant me in much the same way that writing a poem rewards me--just playing with words and following where words lead. Other poets bring me gifts that are worth all the efforts and the many failures. The path from here to there is rarely a straight one. I used to have a bumper sticker on my car, a song title, and a gift at the booth for one of the singers at the Kerrville Music Festival in Texas. It read, “I’m not lost. I’m exploring.” In the garden and in poetry, I always hope to find reward in the process, to find delight in a delicious surprise along the way.

Editor’s Note:  Volunteer Peach Tree” was originally published in Spherical Cat.  It makes the final installment in what I hope all readers of the Review will agree has been an inspiring month featuring the accomplished poet Carol Hamilton.  There is nothing like a ripe fig, with its subtle sweetness, velvety mouth feel, and the delightful crunch of its tiny seeds.  Fresh figs seem to be available in Kansas only in August.  For all of these reasons, I find the final line of this final poem to be particularly fitting. 

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