Monday, September 21, 2009

Apples and honey for the New Year and a poem

This weekend, we gathered together to celebrate Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year. As part of that celebration, we dip apples in honey to symbolize our wishes for a sweet year to come. It helps that this is apple season, and we live in New England, a safe harbor for apples of many varieties. This is the time of year for crisp, fresh apples, shining in the bowl, for apple cake and apple sauce, for apple pie and apple cobbler, for fresh bread thick with apple butter. For apple pancakes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, for apples slices dredged in honey, dripping on hands and lips.

May the year bring you sweetness.

"Speak to me of Apples"

The birds are singing
in this last full day of summer.
I could tell them about the dangers
of frost, but I am the one who needs
the reminder, the farmer's almanac,
the five-day forecasts. Even the dog
knows when to stop shedding.
I buy strawberries out of season,
seduced by the red heart roundness,
pay the price for my unnatural
desires. I draw the line
at hothouse roses. It's not
that they aren't beautiful,
but they remind me of funerals
and flowers without scent
are somehow worse than mealy berries,
white nap of mold hidden underneath.
Sun-dried tomatoes are red enough
to remind me of summer, sharp
enough to cut through the starched
stiff collar of potatoes,
just sweet enough to claim kinship
with apples. And apples
are the black sheep relations
of roses made good. So please
forgive me if I dote on apples;
courtlands, jonagolds, macouns,
and the nameless ones my neighbor
lets rot in his front yard.
They are my autumn roses, their blushing
full cheeks brushing each other
in the bowl like European kisses.
I am a sucker for ridiculous bounty,
for that last surge of sap, of pollen,
and the frantic thrumming of bees.

--LJCohen, 2009


  1. Obviously, plumbers, carpenters and other distractions had no effect on you. Oh sigh. That was so beautiful.