Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Figs

I ate what are probably, possibly, definitely the last two apricots from the tree here in Eden today – so warm and ripe they tasted more like mango. On the other side of the garden, the fig-tree is yielding ripe fruit at the rate of about one a week. The tree is thick with unripe ones, but figs are patient – not to say stubborn – plants, and their fruit take their own sweet time.

In a spurious link, I stumbled across this poem today, in The White Review, by Salt Publishing writer John Clegg. It’s a long time since a poem made me want to instantly go and find more of the writer’s work, but this one did:

Fig-tree
John Clegg

He trepans with the blunt
screwdriver on his penknife:
unripe figs require the touch
of air on flesh to sweeten.
Blind, but in his fingertips
he has the whole knot
of this fig-tree memorised.

The five inch scar, a vague
felt mesh of parallelogram,
was where he bandaged up
a split branch once.
He starts from there,
first hand-height fruit
and then he gets the ladder.

Gauge weight, turn, unturn.
He sings beneath his breath
about the excellence of figs,
their mellowness,
their skin-dints
like the perfect undulation
in the small of his wife’s back.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2012 by in Books, Middle East, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .
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