The Orchard Path
Lost Apples
by Ian Blake

I'm deeply suspicious
Of Golden Delicious,
They taste like old blankets to me.
Just give me a box
Of sweet English Cox
Picked ripe from a real Kentish tree.

Puffin? Hounslow Wonder? Kitchen Door?
Each year it seems less possible to catch
the taste of an apple plucked from an English tree
in Kent, or Hereford, or Worcestershire,
Norfolk, Suffolk. Or true West Country
golden oozings molten from the press.
Mouth-pursing sweetness of scented Pearmain flesh;
Bachelor's Glory sunkissed by the south;
granuled skin of Russet in the mouth,
soft as the roughness of kitten's tongue;
rattling in the ear, when we were young,
ready-ripe, loose, Ribston Pippin pips;
baking a Bramley, sugaring its lips
with Demarara, cinnamon and cloves;
walking Tom Putt-heavy autumn groves;
espaliered Allen's Everlasting on the wall.
Grieve James Grieve and uprooting of all
our Darling Pippins. Cast into banishment
whoever exiled Mr. Gladstone, Crimson Quoyning,
Belle de Boskoop, Beauty of Kent.
The College Apple, Schoolmaster, The Queen,
Bidstow Wasp and The Belle Josephine.
Costard, Lathercoal and Gillyflower,
Wilmington Fillbasket, have had their burning hour;
p.c. supermarket-shelves rejecting rudely
not only Duke of Devon, Lady Sudely,
Duchess of Oldenburg, but many others more
plebeian - Puffin, Hounslow Wonder, Kitchen Door.

copyright 2002
Ian Blake's works include AULTGRISHAN
(diehard, Edinburgh, 1999 - ISBN 0 946230 61 7).