January 2016

Wassail Bowl

 a renga* in celebration of apples composed by Susan Edwards Richmond


the first icy snow


like a flock of angry sparrows


now, branches steeled

against a steely sky


the orchard is asleep

all the sweetness of the berries

is driven deep in the ground


the farmers scan nursery lists

plotting spring


the list of apples

her father grew in their orchard

high on the shoulder of Mount Blue


the cool taste of promise

on her tongue-


Green Crisp


Maiden Blush


maybe Rhode Island Greening-

starting tart but aging sweet,


listen carefully

to what the trees tell us, saying

pay attention to the changes


the knowing

when to flower, when to fruit


toast with spiced cider

wassailing the trees,

the fairies, the nature sprites,


the scent of apples to come

animates the senses.



*A renga is a Japanese form of “linked poem," composed of alternating three- and two-line stanzas by poets working in pairs or small groups. This poem links lines excerpted from complete works from the following poets:  Polly Brown, Lila Linda Terry, Terry House, William Lenderking, Deborah Melone, Franny Osman, Cheryl Perreault, and Susan Edwards Richmond.