From Blossoms by 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.
Already last month I was thinking of this poem, as I do every year as the peaches begin to ripen. I remember this brown paper bag of peaches purchased last summer at a local farmers’ market, even though they are not quite local but come from Niagara.
The poet takes us from the picking of this fruit to devouring, dusty skin and all …dust of summer, dust we eat. Can’t you just feel the soft warm fuzz of a peach in your hand? It really is a sweet dust, a taste of summer, of August.
Then it becomes like a prayer or a hymn, O, to take what we love inside, eating the shade, the sugar, the days, a communion with summer. This is no ordinary food as we taste the round jubilance of peach. I cannot eat a peach anymore without thinking of that phrase, the joyfulness of the experience in a taste. I have tasted peaches like that.
He reminds us that we live as if life will go on forever, as if death were nowhere / in the background. We will not always be here to swoon over peaches but we can live in the moment, from joy to wing to blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

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