Under the Apple


Under the Apple

I lay under an apple tree,
Susie, my neighbor, next to me,
the boughs so low we would collide
with green knobs but for backward slide.

It was more or less 1964,
and I was worrying about world war–
twenty years since numbers One and Two
it felt like we were surely due,
while Susie fiddled with her bangs
which over her headband (orange) did hang.
also stood about her face
stuck in a growing-out weird phase.

Later that summer, my dear dog died,
beneath a much much taller tree
my missed catch, the bounced throw bent-
killed by me by accident–
In my weeping, all my woe,
I don’t think I thought any more
about world wars.

So, we veer, we career,
between the world’s cares
and our own–

I walk a hill now, mostly brown,
slip on ice slips that splice the ground,
stop to look at mists across,
the fog that at the top takes pause,
rests its arms on mountain’s brow
or perhaps the fog’s the sky’s low bough,
as the slopes, they lay themselves down.

And how beautiful even what keeps us from seeing can be,
I think,
if we really look.

I realize then that I have booked
fifty years since that low tree,
and despite the fears of Susie, me,
there hasn’t been that conflagration,
that cataclysm of every nation,
rather a series of smaller spasms–
though I suspect I would reflect
differently on all that loss
if I’d been one of those full tossed,
dismembered in those red divisions;
my head low bowed by deadly schisms.

I push my hair back walking home,
my other hand touching milk weed down–
last year’s stalks, without seed pod,
I hardly touch them, do not prod-
but they’re so hollow, black with rot
they just fall as like as not–
that’s just what they do–


A very very drafty poem for the prompt by Sherry Blue Sky on With Real Toads to write about balance and what helps you get through a world of chaos.   (I swear this was inspired by the prompt though I appreciate that it is a very strange take on it. )  This is also my 11th poem of April for this 2015 National Poetry Month.  Sorry for the length! 

PS – the photo is taken in the fall, not now–so there’s a different quality of light and milk weed!  Sorry!  Also have edited since first posting. 


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15 Comments on “Under the Apple”

  1. I can certainly see why these memories will bring balance and reassurance to a world chaos, from your point of view. And even if taken into consideration by those who didn’t experienced the event.

    The poem shows that things change, but not that much. We can always find a way… all we have to do, is not forget this while chaos is trying to suck us in.

  2. Ella Says:

    Your sadness ebbs n’ flows in this one~ The questions of why haunt! I could feel your pain~

  3. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    I am intrigued and would love to see where this one ends up if you decide to work on the draft. The memories of your dog (oh! oh!) and your friend catch at my heart.

  4. Jim Says:

    I’m liking your drafty poems, k. I suppose most ours during this rushing month. For sure though your meaning here comes through loud and clear. I have laid under a cherry tree, listening to a radio; my first dog died, I still feel that I killed her; I worried about Viet Namm; and my fall was from as horse kicking me in the back.
    I suppose this conditioned me like yours did you but maybe not. More like you, and like my dad, when he said, “Jim, everybody falls now and then.” That worried me that he was falling.
    Finally through all this I didn’t know until after Mom died that she lived with the thinking she killed her mother. By bringing the 1917 flu home from school.
    Oops, what did I say? Great poem, k, handling falls of life.

  5. I love it! “It was more or less 1964.” I enjoyed the look back, so sad about the poor dog. I remember that fear of nuclear conflagration, instead there has been an unending series of “small” wars, but not small to those affected. Great poem and a beautiful photo too, my friend. Thanks for writing to my prompt.

  6. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    So, we veer, we career,
    between the world’s cares
    and our own–

    There is much to consider on a reading of this poem, how our fears are seldom realized in our own sphere of life, while other people else where pay the ultimate price. There have been too many little conflicts since 1964 (the year I was born incidentally) and the past decade has been so conflict ridden, even if we have not called it ‘world war’. fear for my children’s generation and the one thereafter.

    • Kerry O'Connor Says:

      I wanted to mention how effective the rhyming is in a poem that flows like free verse.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Absolutely. I am certainly not trying to diminish the conflicts that there have been, which have been so terrible. I edited the poem a little to make that clearer–just a line and not sure it works anyway. Thanks, Kerry. (It is a rather odd poem–I think I like the rhyme although the earlier versions just had a lot of internal rhyme and then when I started re-working it, it became more prominent. Rhyming is something that comes sometimes almost too easily for me–maybe because of my interest in things for children–and I’m not sure it’s always a benefit, so I’m glad of your comment.) k.

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    A very expansive poem, k–well-served by its rhyme, and also by its freedom from structure–the contrast is itself a metaphor for the veering Kerry quotes. I love the way you used spliced, and the final image of the empty pod that has no more seeds…left til something brushes it down–for me, that’s sort of our civilization in a microcosm, though I do realize we have puffed out a great many seeds, weed and flower, before reaching this point. Or so I read and ruminate. Rambly and lavish in every good way.

  8. othermary Says:

    Exquisite…going from the political to personal in this rambling, thoughtful piece.

  9. Your poem felt so musical. It was a balm to my ears. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  10. M Says:

    I really like the pace and rhythm of this ‘drafty’ pen, K ~

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