Monday, August 16, 2010

Tuesday Poem

Apple season is upon us here in the northwest tip of the United States....

Beautiful Apples

“We are missing pie.”

-- my son, Reilly

Overnight they rest in a silver bowl,

uncut, unblemished. No jag-edged cores.

No cobbler. No curling peel

spilling from the sink. Nothing saucy.

From your long-dead father’s

wind-split tree, recumbent for a season

yet flush with this

surprise of fruit --

Sorrow is the absence of pie,

the dank work of worms, sorry dirge.

Love is the ample curve,

the rosy wholeness of an apple-in-hand.

--for Karen England

© T. Clear


Last week I received this note from my friend and virtuoso Cajun-fiddle player Karen England: you remember the poem you wrote about Rollo's apple tree?
It is still an amazing tree! I have real full sized beautiful apples this year!
I learned how to thin and prune and am so happy with the outcome.

Thanks, Karen, for the prompt for this week's poem!

When I wrote it, there was the repeating mantra ("we are missing pie") in my head -- odd because we've always been a pie family, and for some reason too much time had passed between pies, and my son was experiencing the rare event of pie-mourning. Then Karen showed up at my door with a bag of the season's earliest apples -- yellow transparents, or "pie apples", as I've always said -- and not only did I end up with a pie, but also a poem. Happy son, happy mom, happy poet! Happy fiddle player!

Here's Karen doing her fiddle-thang (shown here with Al Berard):

And here with the band Folichon:


  1. Dear T. Clear, I must confess to being a sucker for poems about apples and apple trees, and this is just a lovely piece of work. The diction is so down to earth 'we are missing pie' (my favorite line in the poem, though there are so many!). And the matter-of-factness of

    'From your long-dead father's/wind-split tree' we see the miraculous, ancient llimbs and resting on that comma, that marvelous short caesura, we see the split up of a family.

    And then to turn that into recumbent, from a different diction all together. "Sorrow is the absence of pie' reiterates, and inflates the epigraph and leads into the perfect final stanza.

    Well done.


  2. it is an achingly beautiful poem, T.

    we have a macintosh tree full of fruit right now...I've never been a great pie-maker. Perhaps you need to come visit and show me how. Another month and these babies will be ready.

  3. Like Vespersparrow I'm a sucker for poems about apples and apple trees, but I am also, and more frequently, a complete apple fan. I have been told I eat too many apples, by someone less enamoured of them than I. I celebrate the new apple season with unbridled enthusiasm,I have blogged about apples many times, but I've never yet written a poem about them. If I could, I'd want it to be as lovely as this one. Thank you for it.

  4. I agree with the previous comments, life and apples seem so inextricably entwined and so your poem seems to take on great depths of meaning while still being beautiful and reminiscent of home and family.

  5. I am humbled and moved by all your comments. Days like today, with comments like these, remind me just how good life can be. Thanks to all of you!

  6. In an apple-free region, words about apples take on more meaning...pie mourning and the friend whose thread helped carry you there...our lives are richer for the writers and stories we find by chance in this strange land. Thank you.