mcalpine’s cherries

Poem #36 from Small Town Kid

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in the weeks of heat and holidays
the cherry-lined branches
are burdened deep purple
or black or red
with the promised succulence
revealed through the light loam dust
raised by a shower of passing rain

the trees stand
in leafy straight lines
over and around the hillside
categorised by variety
and the timing of their readiness
set wide enough apart
for the tractor to deposit and collect
bins of the picked fruit
taken singly or in joined clusters
of twins and triplets
that may straddle a teenage ear
in a moment of unproductive decoration

the gun pickers
fill their buckets in what seems
like just a moment
up and down the ladders
to strip a tree
and move to the next
in the time it takes
to have a good look around
and a sip of tea
from the thermos

my paltry efforts might be improved
if I wasn’t afraid of ladders
since the apples of last season
flung me to the ground

and perhaps I’d last longer
before getting sacked
if my friend and I
weren’t fighting
cherry-dodging battles with juicy missiles

flying between adjoining rows
to the irritation of the boss
old mac mcalpine
during his daily inspections
of the adequacy and progress
being made by the casual labour

his free advice to novice pickers
resounds with a wealth of acquired
orchardist wisdom and kindliness
when he tells us in a burred brogue

if you’re going to eat ‘em
eat the bir-r-r-r-d pecked ones
they’r-r-e the sweetest

good advice
but after three days
I never wish to see or to touch
one of those red devils again

© Frank Prem 2009

Small Town Kid Poem 37: sweet maureen


4 thoughts on “mcalpine’s cherries

  1. Pingback: Evanescant: Exit | What's (in) the picture?

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