Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ripe summer

Let the juice

Of this ripe summer

Drip from your chin

Onto your crisp white shirt.

The vine grows full

And no amount of tying

Can hold a weighted globe

From its determined fall.

Slice these days

With your sharp knife,

And sink your face

Into the sweets of time.

Only your breath,

The blade you wield,

And your crisp white shirt

Will remember

The red, ripe seeds

That bled from

This abundant

Summer vine.


  1. Ooo, Karen, i love this! ...reminds me of a scene from the film 'A Good Year' with Russell Crowe...

    i'm hungry now, for life and food!


  2. Ooooh, there is something so subtly sexual about this... Yum, so alive. This is the essence of what summer should be Karen. Well done!

  3. Karen, this is a totally juicy poem! LOL! I love it and the bright red picture. Blessings!

  4. Calli - I haven't seen that one, but if it has RC in it, I must! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Cat - Oh, I know! I agonized over some of the words because it was even more overt than this. In the end, I went for the "mild" version - just in case the kids are still "blurking"! lol

    Marion - Well, you know how heavy those vines get this time of year! Thanks, dear.

  5. This is a really lovely poem - honest! For me it all hinges on the second and third verses, which are particularly well-crafted. I'm not sure that I wouldn't have written something like:
    And sink your face
    Into the sweets of time.

    but that is a purely personal reaction and is not necessarily better.

  6. Dave - I have just a minute before I must be at work, but I want to thank you for the suggestion. It suits exactly, and I'm changing immediately. (So for those of you who didn't see the original, it said, "the sweet fruits of time.") Thanks Dave -- honest! :-)

  7. Oh yes! Savor it!!

  8. Lovely poem indeed--I do like the revision to "sweets of time."

  9. Only your breath,

    The blade you wield,

    And your crisp white shirt

    Will remember

    This was my favourite (but how to choose, really)?

    I liked Dave's suggestion too - it improved a near-perfect piece.


  10. Such sweet savory satiable offerings! And well I shall "remember" - words prompting delectable images and a willing bite! Ahh... how very pleasing be your "ripe summer."

  11. Karen, this is awesome. I am just blown away and in love with the language and images. I LOVE that you start with the juice of this ripe summer and end with the red, ripe seeds. The seeds are the result of the summer. Phrases like "ripe seeds" make the poet in me want to run around the yard and cheer. It's beautifully poetic. It makes sense. And it rises far above the ordinary description.

    There are so many things I love about the piece. The "crisp white shirt" is not just a shirt. It's crisp and white. The narrator glories in letting that juice of life flow onto what is starched and white. That's what life is all about, isn't it?

    The second stanza knocks me on my ass. I love it! It also makes me think about how we often keep trying to tie those weighted globes. I can't pick a favorite stanza, which is good. Each stanza flows beautifully into the next to create a lovely poetic statement.

    Well, I'd better hush or I'll do a line by line analysis...ha! ha! Keep nipping and tucking and consider sending it out. Take a look at Bolts of Silk http://boltsofsilk.blogspot.com
    Which reminds me...I need to link there. I'm such a goofball and my brain wanders. I haven't sent anything there yet, but I'm a fan of what I've read.

    I tip my hat to you, dear poet. Excellent work.

  12. Karen, you've captured the entire essence of a ripe summer in this beautiful poem.

    Absolutely lovely!!

  13. What a delight to see two great poets sharing insights! And I mean you and Dave. :D

    I so loved the poem and I love the song 'Summer vine' too :P

  14. Jason - "while ye may!" - absolutely!

    John - Thanks. If you had read Dave's most recent post, you would know he wrote about honesty in commenting. I'm so glad he was honest with me, because his suggestion was spot on!

    Kat - Thank you. I'm still considering changes to "the blade you wield". "Your sharp blade"? "Your slick blade"? What do you think?

    Rose Marie - Your gracious praise is most humbly received. :-)

    Julie - Even your comments are descriptive -- and I love the image of you running around the yard and knocked flat on your butt!

    I also really appreciate the "line by line" from you. I have no one with whom I can discuss my writing here in the "real" world. I think about three people even know I'm doing it! I am, though, looking for a local group. Somehow, I feel that if I had a formal writing group, I could broach the subject with other people. Maybe it's just my silliness over this keeping secrets thing, but I'm a furtive writer. The reality is, I think, that writing opens up too much of the self, and I am not ready for the people I know to see that much of me. Does that make any sense at all? I have this weird fantasy that I write all of these poems and then I die and they're discovered by my family, who all shake their heads in wonder that I was doing that and they didn't know! That I COULD do that and they didn't know.

    I just read over that and thought, "Man! Do I need help!" LOL

    Anyway - nuff about me! Thanks for the link. I am going to check it out as soon as I can. Work and family are fairly consuming right now. This furtive writer does her blogging at 5:00 a.m., and runs out of time every morning!

    Thanks, as always, Julie. I appreciate you so!
    Oh, one other thing. Would you take a look at my comment to Kat (above) about the last stanza? Thanks.

    Margaret - Thank you. I wish you could see the big smile your comment has caused.

    Ani - I don't know the song, but I'm the Google Queen, so I will! Did you read Dave's latest post? His comment, after that, is even more important. I do love the collaboration we have here, and I always look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

  15. Okay so we both find fruit sexy....haha...loved it...

  16. Gather ye rosebuds!! And the sweets. :)

    You have such a great ear, Karen. I never trip up over your poems. And I love how some words just sound like what they are. Like "crisp white shirt." It's a beautiful effect you employ so often that is really elevating as a reader.

    I also loved the layering of the stain with our memory and with blood. It made me think that the most precious moments in our life are when we seize some sort of simple or immense pleasure, whilst knowing the risk of some consequence to follow. Here, I felt like the consequence was time itself.

    Sumptuous, delectable poem. I ate it up. :)

  17. Cherie - Happy bites, slices, or however we devour!

    Sarah - Thank you, my kind friend! I can't wait to gather Plum Blossoms, too! Your comments are always kind and helpful in their specificity. (I want to say insightfulness, but I'm too modest! LOL) Thanks, Sarah.

  18. Having eavesdropped on your conversation with Julie and Kat I'll say I like "the blade you wield" as it stands. "Slice these days with your sharp knife," is wonderful in the way it does just what it says.

  19. P.S.
    I thought of you when I read the first verse and a bit of Maura Dooley's "Director's Cut." She pins down what we all aim for, however short we may fall of our ideal.
    "Your art is the scent of woodsmoke at bitter dusk,
    or the mouth's tart cherry in too early a summer,
    it is want, blood staining the earth
    or rain, rain, rain.

    Your eye is the needle through which we all must slip. . .

  20. 'Google Queen' Han?? It has a nice ring to it. :D :D Its a song by Frank Sinatra (I absolutely love his sings!)

    And yup, I read Dave's post. Very thought provoking indeed. :)

  21. Karen - I like blade and wield together they have similar sounds with the "ls" and "ds". I think it's ideal now.


  22. Mairi - What a beautiful lines from Dooley! Unfortunately, I don't know her work, as I don't know many of the contemporary poets. I'll have to see if I can find something by her. I've discovered that many of the bookstores here have paltry poetry sections, and I'll have to order things I want on the Internet. Thanks for the comment on my lines, too.

    LW - Thanks, friend!

    Aniket - Yep! I'm a googler! I know "Summer Wine" by Nancy Sinatra, but now I'll have to find this, too.

    Kat - Thanks, dear friend. I hope you're feeling better and the computer woes are over.

  23. these are the best problems to have - stained shirts, heavy fruit, overabundance. i love not just the the celebration of having it, but the call to revel in it - tidiness has its place, but so does a ripe and ruby mess.

  24. I always embarrass myself after I leave a lengthy comment...ha! ha! So thanks for the kind words. I just get caught up in the excitement of seeing what you're doing.

    No, you're not weird. Guess who in my family knows about my blog? My husband and daughter (because my daughter set it up). I didn't even tell my mom. She'll get a copy of my book, and even that will make me uncomfortable. I love my family dearly, but I'm much more comfortable telling my stories to strangers. So you're not alone!

    Yes, do look into a workshop when you have time. Maybe at a university, community college, etc. I used to teach workshops for people in the community, and those were my favorite. Arts councils sometimes offer them for free. If not, ask them if they will. They're getting funded by your tax dollars:)

    If I understand your question correctly, you were wondering whether to change "The blade you wield" to "your sharp blade?" I agree with Kat about the sounds in the blade you wield. I like it. "Sharp blade" doesn't work for me there, because you've already got sharp and crisp. Sharp is already implicit in the reading. I like that one as is.

    I didn't comment on Dave's suggestion, because I had already written a novella. But I have again, so what the hell...HA! HA! I like his idea for the rhythm. For the meaning, "of time" could even be cut, because it's also implicit in the meaning. It would also emphasize the word "seeds" in the last stanza. BUT cutting it would screw with your rhythm. And, as a reader, it's a lovely line. So I still like it if you leave it. Just thought I'd throw that out there as another thought.

    When I said "nip and tuck" before, I know you will do that, because you're a poet. We keep picking at lines until kingdom come in an eternal quest for perfection. Will we ever achieve it? Nah. But it's great to keep trying. You're doing a beautiful job:)

  25. Julie - I can't tell you how appreciative I am for your time and attention to my writing. I am looking for a group, and I hope I can find both a group and the time to join one. I have very elderly parents who are taking much of my time these days, so joining a group would depend on when it meets. This isn't an excuse but a reality for me. I know there'll be plenty of time later but only one opportunity to do what I'm doing now. This is a bittersweet reality for me -- I'm happy that I can do what I'm doing, and sad for my parents that they need this. Thank heavens I have a wonderful husband! Oh...and a new grandbaby (Julia Catherine) on the way! That'll make four under six!

    So, I truly appreciate your comments. I looked at the line with "sweets of time" and don't know why I didn't put it on one line! Then, I do like the suggestion of removing "of time" because of the implicit meaning but need to maintain the rhythm. I'll certainly work and rework here.

    I understand what you mean by nip and tuck. I looked back over some of my earlier work and I'm embarrassed that I even posted it. It needs a whole body lift! Hopefully, no one will remember how artificial and forced some of that poetry was.

    By the way, I did send some things to Bolts of Silk and heard back that they'll publish "Summer Evening" before the end of August. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm totally surprised to have someone else put up my work.

    You've been a great blogging friend, secret blogger! Of course, your secret's safe with me! I love the friendship we've made here. I feel enriched by it.

  26. Oh, Karen, what a song this could be... Summer as youth... Beautiful...