Runcible Spoon

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My Father Amongst Apple Trees.


His evening walks took him past the Crows’ Wood

to the orchards.  Wistful amongst the apple trees,

he recited the litany of remembered varieties:

Worcester Pearmain, a reliable cropper, flushed orange-red,

Beauty of Bath, an early sweet certainty,

Cox’s Orange Pippin he knew by its stippled skin.

He was happy amongst the crisp and sweet,

the tang and tart of a good yield,

rustled his hands through branches and leaves

to feel the heavy cluster of the crop, taut and glistening.


His was a sharp appraisal.

He winced at the wilt of firebright, apple scab

and canker, but praised the work

when pruning cuts were treated with wound paint:

‘A job done well once is done twice’.


That last September, from his sick bed he instructed us

to wrap each apple in newspaper,

store them in a cool place.

No fruit would mush to cidery collapse

or leak a fetid squelch of blue mould spores,

not on my father’s watch.