STILL LIFE: MAINE ORANGES

Standard

Some places are not
sun-kissed,
that is their very
talent:
to savor the brief
kindness
then gather the slap
inside
and slowly turn it
orange.

Here, where pumpkins
huddle,
bellies touching so
slightly
on the step that needs
a nail,
we watch
the death of summer
ripen,
try to memorize
windfalls
or an amber rain.

It will not be too
long now…
strange isn’t it how
orange
the funeral is,
how cold windows
ache with sun.
.
.
MAINE ORANGES

37 responses »

    • True, Tom…prosopopoeia is a razor’s edge to walk in these times, always risking a fall into pathetic fallacy on the one side, and groan-worthy clichรฉ on the other. But when an odd new instance presents itself–through no special machinations on one’s own part—I say “go for it!”

  1. So lovely as we bid goodbye for now to the warm breath of summer air. Wonder orange colors for the funeral of summer – beautiful way to frame the scene for us.

    At our place in Maine I’ll never forget the large tree in the backyard who at this time of year would turn the most brilliant yellow I’d ever saw – one would swear a light was on in the bedroom during broad daylight.

    • I had a tree like that in my former backyard…and to walk out there, under it, on certain autumn days, with fallen leaves below and still many above, was like being in a world of gold….Thank you for your beautiful comment, Mary

    • Knowing what you like, genuinely, and saying so, is far superior to knowing–and embracing– what others think you should like…..at least that’s what I think, Christine…thank you for your continued enthusiasm…it’s heartwarming. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. The title fooled me and I began looking for oranges, how stupid can I get? When I got past the fruit of my own preconception I loved this one especially as we get so few autumn colors here in Austin, Texas. For us the charm of fall is the release from the heat of summer and the promise of the next six to eight months of glorious out-door weather. Your poem evoked much nostalgia for the places where I have been ale to enjoy autumn colors, and as usual I applaud you for another winner! Jane

    • I had a good laugh, Jane, as I imagined your expectation of some sort of Cezanne’s sweet fruit. There’ll be a whole lot of global warming before oranges grow in Maine! It’s a beautiful, too brief time of year, here, always bittersweet; I do envy your winters, all the more so since I can no longer ski or otherwise play in the snow. As a lifelong New Englander, I always liked winter..though it grows more treacherous underfoot, and chilling in the bones, with each passing year now.
      I’m glad the poem evoked nostalgia, and thank you for the good laugh too!

  3. Scriabin insisted that the ‘color’ of G was some sort of tawdry orange, Rimsky-Korsakov kind of agreed (not really), and Messiaen demurred: this isn’t the plot of a new novel (in the romantic/synaesthete genre, though it ought to be)–it’s a tribute to the autumnal hue of a much debated color and an adjunct to your mellifluous and colorful poem. And, come to think of it, trademarks are also hotly debated: sun-kissed is such a beautiful image (and clever in this context–une fausse piste), though difficult to protect legally–and so some scorbutic individual came up with ‘Sunkist,’ a stroke of genius (or as genial as things get in the squirty world of citrus).

    • One reader (jstansfeld, above) did think, at first, that this poem was about citrus fruit. A nefarious fausse piste on my agenda? A sort of orangey herring? Nah, only what Lit. Classes used to call “levels of meaning”…all fair in love and poetry. As for synesthesia, Holy Scriabin! Don’t get me started! Though I didn’t always know the word for it, I always knew that letters, numbers, days of the week are certain colors, and was once sorely tempted to paint the keys of an old upright piano in their proper hues (not Scriabin’s by the way). I avoid the eatery called Ruby Tuesday’s (Tuesday is teal) and am sympathetic to the chap who once told me that a basketball tastes like waffles. Someone once told me that polls showed orange was the favorite color of pubescents. Your idea of a romantic synesthete novel is a good one. I am not a novelist, but you, my dear Prospero,…are you ready to begin it?

      • Dear Cynthia, perhaps the Great American Romantic/Synaesthete Novel includes long, brilliant stretches of poetry, in which case we might consider a collaboration, and whereas you would bring โ€˜poรฉsieโ€™ and the trappings of youth and freshness to the collaborative effort, I would curmudgeonly offer sagacity in the form of long byzantine scrawlings and scribblings, which one way or the other would masquerade as sentences. A marriage made in heaven.

  4. WOW, I especially love the end–that “cold windows ache with sun”. And “death of summer ripen” gives such beauty to the sad leave-taking.

    • But it’s a vibrant leave-taking—leaf-taking ๐Ÿ™‚ and so a bittersweet time in its own right. I’m glad you enjoyed the imagery, Figgy, since you are yourself such a master of sensuous imagery…

      • Definitely a “vibrant” leave-taking, Cynthia–I enjoyed every word, and wish you were able to post more frequently, though please don’t hear that as a demand. Have a blessed evening.

    • I’ve been told we call this season “fall” because it’s when the sun falls below the equator (an abstract motion past an abstraction), but it’s nice to know that at the same time, someone else is enjoying spring. Indeed, as we both know, John, the poignancy of autumn is in its power to remind us of impermanence…in the way of all beautiful things…..

  5. I love the way you write about ordinary things and life events in an extraordinary way, a very unpredictable style of explaining it all. It certainly gets my mind thinking, and then on to another level of thinking – intelligent poetry, and also very elegant!

    When I was younger I used to struggle to grasp poetry like this, and even when someone explained it’s meaning, I still didn’t like it much, But now I’m finding I like it more and more. I haven’t really ventured to write in that way yet, but maybe one day. My change of appreciation is either down to age and maturity, or just the sheer overwhelming volume of poetry I’ve read on the internet in the past two years changing my perception. Whichever it is – I like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is very strange how massively orange the end of summer is, that’s a good point to think about. A very vibrant funeral indeed! Perhaps we have it very wrong associating black with funerals? I think in some countries they wear white. But orange seems to have the essence of the sun and life in it, perhaps it would be a more positive colour – although I’m sure it wouldn’t suit everyone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • “The overwhelming volume of poetry on the internet….” Your words, as always, also give me something to think about. I have learned a great deal since I started this poetry blog two years ago. Among the most important things I’ve learned, thanks to my readers and their comments is how various is the taste for language, subject matter, sight, sound, thought……poems about cats have a perrennial audience; sad poems, witty poems, love poems, poems written in traditional meter, free verse…each sort of poem seems to cull its own sort of response on the blog, and this fascinates me.
      Perhaps many persons were put off of poetry in recent times by pedants who “teach” in universities in schools. I find it interesting to ponder.

      You’re right, the color orange, made of red and yellow might be something to consider, in lieu of black for funerals, though I think some people are put off by what they consider it’s “loudness”… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yes the ‘teaching’ of poetry never really interested me or anyone else in my class, But tell a bunch of kids to write a poem about anything they like – and they’re away – with interest! Freedom in choosing what you want to read or write I’m sure has made poetry on the internet very popular.

        I have noticed the popularity of cat poems, (strange that) and also on Tumblr blogs cat gifs (those animated images) always popular. I shall have to try a cat poem, accompanied with a gif!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks, Sheila…one of those lines that writes itself.

      A favorite quotation–which I’ve used as an epigraph to another poem, and which is credited to Goethe:
      “Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.”

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