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Plums by Gillian Clarke


by Gillian Clarke

When their time comes they fall without wind, without rain. They seep through the trees’ muslin in a slow fermentation.

Daily the low sun warms them in a late love that is sweeter than summer. In bed at night we hear heartbeat of fruitfall.

The secretive slugs crawl home to the burst honeys, are found in the morning mouth on mouth, inseparable.

We spread patchwork counterpanes for a clean catch. Baskets fill, never before such harvest, such a hunters’ moon burning

the hawthorns, drunk on syrups that are richer by night when spiders pitch tents in the wet grass.

This morning the red sun is opening like a rose on our white wall, prints there the fishbone shadow of a fern.

The early blackbirds fly guilty from a dawn haul of fallen fruit. We too breakfast on sweetnesses.

Soon plum trees will be bone, grown delicate with frost’s formalities. Their black angles will tear the snow.

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