Arts & Leisure

Poem For the Jamaican Apple Pickers

Taken
        for the pickers
 
The apples are used to those men,
their hands, their songs.
Used to rolling down
 
their arms into baskets.
Into crates. Carted off
to the cold, storage house.
 
This month most of them will
drop on their own accord.
Twist off their stems
 
because of the wind.
The yellow jackets won’t
know what to do with
 
so many of them.
Some days one is enough
to drill into. To lose
 
a stinger. Sunday nights
the apples will miss listening
to the men singing
 
their hymns.
We’ll miss going to church
for their hymn sing.

Later, standing around a fire
of fruit wood with them.
Watching the sparks
 
kindle the air.
Making their way back up
to Jamaica.
 
Where those men live,
before they come north.
For the sake of the trees
 
and their livelihood.
For how the apples love
to be softly taken.
 
      — Gary Margolis, Cornwall

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