Robert W. Daly

2 Poems

In the Orchard			 	

He thinks himself 
an apple
of late summer 
in the orchard south of Onondaga, where
signs read, "U-Pick" and "Pick Your Own."

A red apple, one of many,
low hanging, easy to take, not yet too ripe, 
a decent specimen, fated 
to be there, now.

She comes by with 
her companions and stops, 
inspecting his credentials.

“I'm for you!” the apple cries.  
	“You can have me right here. 
	Your friends will not think ill of you.
	Or bring me home, 
	show me off, cut me into bits, 
	bake a strudel, whatever you desire. 
	Don't leave me here to drop 
	and end up in anyone’s applesauce or
            to rot under winter's snow!”

Her hand does not reach for him.

"Not red delicious enough 
for my tastes," she tells her friends. 
"Someone else can pick that one."

From his branch 
he watches her amble	
down the path between 
the rows of apple trees. 
She looks back, as if remembering 
their  encounter

and walks away.
The Potager

You are invited by the gardener, 
weather and mood permitting, 
to visit her kitchen garden:  

descended from Roman villas, 
from monasteries and French farms, 
it grows near Dexter on Pillar Point 
whose stones lay drowned by Ontario’s seas.				
Down back steps, by the gate, 
a sensuous ceramic with ancient signs, 
a gift from a friend I was told.

On the left, a woodpile shrouded in plastic 
is stacked against the house.  
On the right, a soft-blue table 
sits near the cool limestone where  
the garden may be viewed 
and breakfast taken, by just a few.  

In the garden’s center, 
grass with a table and chairs, 
ringed by herbs, vegetables, 
roses and lavender - 
the setting for dinner on warm evenings.

A great tree, a willow I recall, bounds 
the northern side, to the west and south 
delphiniums bluer than a blue sky 
	inside a white picket fence that 
	could use straightening and paint - or not – 
constrain the garden's reach.

Beyond the fence, 
fruit trees, a little park, 
a cistern, a hammock, 
an arbor with a table. 
Farther still, the woods, 
oaks and maples, 
the look ethereal.

The gardener in her garden: picking flowers, rhubarb, 
oregano and chives; weeding, 
pruning, imagining another planting. 
Listening, laughing, telling of her deceased husband, her 
sons, and family; friends and collaborators, 
a love of summers past.
Her vision, her labor, her pleasure - 
when not in town.
A place for her of warmth, of friendship, 
of dark clouds and sudden storms 
that shatter July's dreams.

A garden she made and keeps.
She may let you help.
When you leave, 
take this garden and its mistress 
with you, in your own way, 

as I did.	

Robert W. Daly, a retired physician and professor, is a member of The Downtown Writers Center, and of the Palace Poetry Group in Syracuse, NY. His poems have appeared in The Healing Muse and, a Canadian on-line journal.