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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What, this Old Thing?

Best I can tell, I started writing this poem in 1998.  On my first ever flash drive, I've got a file 24 pages long, dedicated to three poems.  This one by far, has the most versions--page upon page of highlighted, underscored, italicized, edited lines. I went at it again in 2002 and once more in 2006 but the dratted thing never felt finished.  Even as I cut and pasted it here, I deleted words, added a phrase...

I refuse though, to consign it to flash-drive-oblivion because I so love what inspired it.  In case you can't guess, it encompasses a memory that rises each summer, when I take a trip to the blueberry farm next to a man-made pond in the town next door--which gives me great pleasure and loads of fat berries, but fails to recreate the depth of certain childhood experiences.  At least once a summer, my sisters Sarah or Connie or my friend Martha and I rowed across a lake to bushes that drooped heavy with berries at the edge of dense woods lining a far shore.  We usually came home with a small tin, half full--enough to make one small Blueberry Buckle.  That's it.  Perhaps it was all the work, for such a smidgen of delicious reward, that sealed this memory in my heart.

If you ever get a chance to pick native blueberries verses the cultivated variety, take it.  Native plants are sparse and low to the ground, the fruit tiny; it takes ages to fill a tin.  But each petite morsel offers an explosion of taste, like a good poem, where every word adds punch and value.  I rarely attempt poetry much anymore, but once in a while, like picking indigenous berries, the effort to seek out, pare down and refine ripe words, provides a rewarding exercise.

Lake Waban Gatherings

Rowing from
this seamless beach,
weaving circles
through the warp
and weft of
we glide to an
embroidered cove,
where blueberries
hanging from
green leaf threads,
stain our fingers,
purple our tongues—
and knit us
into patterns
of vintage summers.


Anne Gallagher said...

That's beautiful!!! Makes me think of my own summers.

Jan Morrison said...

wonderful poem and I don't know why you wouldn't write more and more and more of them. I knew you were a poet. knew it.

glnroz said...

oh my, you shouldn't have kept that from us, for so long. A good trip i got to take, this morning.

Bish Denham said...

I'm there! Beautiful.

Sharon said...

I can taste every bit of this. Thank you.

Helen Ginger said...

It's very interesting that you wove the words with a sewing theme. I really like it.

Lydia Kang said...

How lovely! I can almost taste that purple!

Empty Nester said...

I like it! Our neighbor's mother has a blueberry farm and they bring us fresh blueberries all the time! They are so yummy! Hubs planted a blueberry bush in the yard this year---fingers crossed!

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh Liza! What a beautiful poem. It speaks to me and I actually tasted blueberries. You should write more poetry, girlfriend. :-)

Wine and Words said...

Delicious poem. I see it finished, and then not...because it will never lay silent, but as you said, rise up each summer as a juicy fruit.

Talei said...

Oh, that is lovely! Thank you for sharing it. ;-)

Janna Leadbetter said...

It's a gem for sure, Liza!

Mary Sullivan Frasier said...

Liza: I think it's lovely, just the way it is. The phrasing is excellent and it certainly transported me to the place and time that you described in your intro. As a reader, I wouldn't change a thing. Of course, the important thing is how YOU feel about it as the author/poet.

It definitely has me thinking (and my tummy grumbling) about blueberry pies, muffins, cobbler and much more!

~Mrs B

J.B. Chicoine said...

My parent's field in NH is loaded with those native blueberries, and even after the birds are done with them, there are more than we can pick. You are right, there is a world of difference between these morsels and the cultivated!
...and thanks for the happy poem! :)

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Makes me remember picking blueberries at a family friends house, where she had lots of wide open land that just seemed magical.

And then *I hesitate to share, but the memory isn't complete without the contrast* remember the bitterness of when she became a Jehovah's Witness and declared that after having been my mother's good friend for 30 years, she couldn't be anymore because we didn't share her faith...

Lisa Weidknecht said...

I’m a new follower, here from the Over 40s. Come follow me!