Friday, August 6, 2010

That Long Ago Summer: Young Husband And Wife In Tomato Field, a poem

Sun beams fell like stones. Glazed
neck and neck we'd stump down the rows
and when we dug in, each spadeful, pure clay,
had us jumping up and down. Over the fence
cows gandered, udders boggling against
broadbeans and trilliums. They looked dimly pleased,
as though dandelions were turning to wine in their
cool green fourth bellies.

But we were human, and we maddened by degrees.
First we'd wilt, endangered flora,
but by noon the sun had grilled us tough.
A beef-jerky man and woman shoveled and hissed.
You'd be brown as an ape man, your hair going berserk.
Our children would rush out, seize my knees. Mama
nuzzled these baby carrots with her
horse lips.

High noon! oh, ready to cry fire I remembered
night storms going straight down, no time
between crash and flash. Here
red lanterns of tomatoes
sizzled on straw. You took a hot mouthful
into your hot mouth, lost breath: a red kiss
gullet-deep, equatorial.


  1. "They looked dimly pleased,
    as though dandelions were turning to wine in their cool green fourth bellies."

    "Here red lanterns of tomatoes
    sizzled on straw."

    Ah, such imagery! I want to fall back into this to inhale each line.. wonderful, wonderful writing, Margaret, I saw each scene played out in vivid colour.

  2. Thank you for such a generous comment, Shrinky. That summer is very alive in my mind and it was a poignant experience to write about it. I can even remember the spots on the happy cows!

  3. Wow! Margaret, you are an amazing writer. I want to read this over and over again, as there is so much richness in each phrase. I love the alliteration, the non-human adjectives that describe the couple, all of the imagery..Like Shrinky, I feel like I was there.
    PS Thanks for your sweet message on my last post. I'm honored to have connected with you through the blogosphere.

  4. Thank you, Robyn. I think it was the hot red tomatoes and cows and sun that wrote the poem--they were so vivid in my memory.

    As for your post, it was a brave and moving one. I admire you for it.

  5. Thanks so much, Margaret. I appreciate your support and sweetness!
    PS I'm anxiously awaiting your next post. No pressure. :)