Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Death by Fruit

Kay Ryan is reading tonight at the Seattle Arts & Lectures Poetry Series. I love her narrow simple witty poems, and her book Say Uncle is one of my all time faves. Can hardly wait to hear her read them live. The vivacious Rebecca L. is my date for the series (we have so much fun sitting together and trying to behave!). There is also a large group of poets from both reading groups going. And the funnest part of all is going out after, for a drink and a bite and catty chat-up of the reading.

Death by Fruit
by Kay Ryan

Only the crudest
of the vanitas set
ever thought
you had to get
a skull into the picture
whether you needed
its tallowy color
near the grapes
or not. Others,
stopping to consider
shapes and textures,
often discovered that
eggs or aubergines
went better, or leeks,
or a plate of string beans.
A skull is so dominant.
It takes so much
bunched up drapery,
such a ponderous
display of ornate cutlery,
just to make it
less prominent.

The greatest masters
preferred the
subtlest vanitas,
modestly trusting
to fruit baskets
to whisper
ashes to ashes,
relying on the
poignant exactness
of oranges to release
like a citrus mist
the always fresh fact
of how hard we resist
how briefly we’re pleased.

1 comment:

Radish King said...

Catty? Why whatever do you mean? I'd like to go on record by saying that I was not the person who said that the fabulous KR resembled Richard Hugo in her programme photo. Ahem.