What is this half-remembered poem about motherhood and peaches?
October 4, 2012 1:23 AM   Subscribe

What is the title/who is the author of this half-remembered poem about a mother/child relationship and peaches (I think)?

I heard it read at a wedding by the mother of the bride, and it was incredibly moving. Unfortunately, I can't get in touch with my friend to ask, and my googlefu is weak. The poem had to do with the child/daughter putting unripe peaches (I think, although it may have been a different fruit) on a windowsill or counter, and the mother saying they wouldn't ripen, but after a time, she eats one and it has ripened, and the last line is talking about the juice running down her chin.
posted by catch as catch can to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not peaches, but Li-Young Lee -- Persimmons?
posted by threeants at 3:01 AM on October 4, 2012

Nope - it's a very short poem, maybe 6-12 lines long.
posted by catch as catch can at 3:12 AM on October 4, 2012

Found this, by Sarah Kucharski:


standing over the kitchen sink,
knife gently held in my right hand,
summer ripe peach in my left,
I score the fruit through its middle,
blade slicing along the cleft
through sweet flesh down to the rough pit.
halves separate and stone removes,
sticky palm cradles quarters cut
towards my thumb, pushing against steel,
skinning the prize brought to my lips
taken from between edge and thumb
in assured and fluid motion.
I think mostly of my mother
her hands taught me, her mother hers,
this movement born of hearth cooking,
potatoes, tomatoes, onions
sliced straight into heavy stock pots
heated by wood or coal stoves.
we talk not of food but through it,
beef stew and potato pancakes,
sliced strawberries, little green peas,
nourishing love with nourishment
our kitchens are never lonely
for we will never be alone
standing over the kitchen sink eating peaches.
posted by dlugoczaj at 5:43 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Peaches - William Alexander

We used to pick them fresh,
Right off the branch,
From the tree in the front yard
And place them in a basket
To take inside and taste and devour.
You’d wash them for me,
Me too tiny to reach the sink,
Then take the knife
And carve, swiftly,
Slicing off a smiling slice
For me to eat.
Now your twirled fingers
And paper skin can carve
Only lopsided smiles,
Gnarled and unfamiliar.
Let me take the knife
And dig into peaches
For you to enjoy.
posted by carmicha at 5:50 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

From Blossoms - Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
posted by endless_forms at 8:11 AM on October 4, 2012

Yay, I managed to get in touch with my friend. Here is the poem, in case anyone else ever comes looking.

Peaches - Kate Barnes

Jenny, because you are twenty-three
(and my daughter),
you think you know everything;
and because I am fifty-three
(and your mother),
I think I know everything.
A week ago you picked up two green
little peaches,
only half-grown and still hard,
from under the loaded peach tree
and put them on the kitchen window sill;
and I thought
(though I didn’t say a word):
they’re too small, they will just rot
but I won’t move them, Jenny put them

Now the summer is over and you are
the mornings are cool, squashes
conquer the garden,
the tree swallows have flown away,
crickets sing—
and the sweet juice of your peaches runs
down my chin.
posted by catch as catch can at 8:25 AM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

That's lovely.
posted by h00py at 3:42 AM on October 5, 2012

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