Summer fruit and David Austin roses—things from the garden that go together. And I’d propose that apricots and poetry be paired as in the poem below. Our apricot harvest has begun.
By Jennifer Grotz
I judged them very carefully, as though
I’d been given the charge to determine
which are good or bad, and they were all good,
even the slightly overripe ones with bruises
had a bitter ferment that only brightened
the scent. And the too young ones, firm
and slightly sour, not yet softened by the sun.
And the ripe ones, which felt like biting into
my own flesh, slightly carnivorous.
They had been elegant in the tree, tiny coquettes
blushing more and more until I picked them,
then they were minimalist and matte-colored
in wooden bowls, so barely furred one couldn’t
help but clothe them, enclose them with your hand,
caress each one thoroughly before taking a bite,
exploring the handsome freckles left
from some minor blight.
Now I stand under the tree and
pluck them one after the other.
Each one tastes different, like a mind having
erratic thoughts. Going into the trance
halfway between eating and thinking,
the thought of an apricot, the apricot of a thought,
whose goodness occurs over time, so that
some had been better earlier, others soon
would become correct, I mean ripe.
This article appeared in the print edition of the January 13, 2014, issue of The New Yorker.