[from Les Murray's The Biplane Houses, 2006]
Ripe in the Arbours of the Nose
Even rippled with sun
the greens of a citrus grove darken
like ocean deepening from shore.
Each tree is full of shade.
A shadowy fast spiral through
and a crow's transfixed an orange
to carry off and mine
its latitudes and longitudes
till they're a parched void scrotum.
Al-Andalus has an orange grove
planted in rows and shaven above
to form an unwalkable dream lawn
viewed from loggias.
One level down,
radiance in a fruit-roofed ambulatory.
Mandarin, if I didn't eat you
how could you ever see the sun?
(Even I will never see it
except in blue translation).
Shedding its spiral pith helmet
an orange is an irrigation
of rupture and bouquet
rocking the lower head about;
one of the milder borders
of the just endurable
is the squint taste of a lemon,
and it was limes, of dark tooled green
which forgave the barefoot sailors
bringing citrus to new dry lands.
Cumquat, you bitter quip,
let a rat make jam of you
in her beardy house.
Blood oranges, children!
raspberry blood in the glass:
look for the five o'clock shadow
on their cheeks.
Those are full of blood,
and easy; only pick the ones that
relax off in your hand.
Below Hollywood, as everywhere
the trees of each grove appear
as fantastically open
treasure sacks, tied only at the ground.
The Biplane Houses: Poems