Apple or Pear
As I remember, I was led across her back yard, pulled along
like an unwilling duffle bag attached to a fatty, clenched fist
with enormous purpose. My grandmother’s lawn was sprinkled
with aromatic trees that bore voluptuous fruit; walking through
to the old man’s house, was to pass from garden to wasteland.
I still wonder about the trees- were they apple or pear?
The little house had a bad smell. Yellow reams of newspaper
and moldy fabric draped chairs as if to provide extra padding.
I sat on the edge of one, consumed by the odor. A parade
of cats modeled matted scruffy coats, intermittingly. I tried
to take it all in without breathing. I remember not wanting to
gag. Now, when I recall the smell, I want to breathe it in.
He sat beside us, chanted on and on with a strange lilt (I thought
it was Irish) and slowly opened her gift from a patterned cloth.
Then he peeled apples or pears, unraveled them like these men do
in one long piece to the floor. He worked the knife slowly, kept in
perfect sync to the rhythm of Yiddish and bobbing heads. Finally,
he cut perfect wedges with just his thumb and fore finger.
The beauty of the rose
Is in its vaulted flower
That turns and twists
And inward grows
Within celestial tower.
The beauty of the field
Is in its pink-laced clover
That thrives and spreads
And will not yield
In greenest grass all over.
The beauty of your face
Is in its mildest mien
That lures and calls
My best embrace
With looks I’ve never seen.
I bring you reddish rose
From distant clovered green,
With all the bliss
From poem and prose
And all that lies between.
EDWARD NUDELMAN is a graduate of the
I had considered making this into a sonnet, but I needed the extra space to convey a feeling of not only intrinsic beauty in appearance, but also in
action. Thus, the rose has its flower , but think how it moved and twisted to make that tower. The field with all its expanse of green, can only sit
back and watch as something perhaps even more beautiful takes over its essence (clover). Ah, your face, what else more wonderful can true beauty
do, but lure and call to embrace? Finally, back to the rose, and here’s a purpose for beauty: to be given as a gift.
Apple or Pear
I loved my little (4 foot 9 inch) Yiddish grandma who had pluck and kick and yet was one of the sweetest, most compassionate people I’ve ever known. She loved that “old man,” (even while her Henry was still alive), in the most purest of ways. And she’d make that trek across the fruit tree-speckled lawn almost every day to supply the old man from