Sunday, September 03, 2006

The "Apples" Poem

I've been trying to place this poem of mine, entitled 'Apples", for over a year now. It takes months to get replies from most poetry magazines, of course, but all the same, I do love this particular poem and am really quite disappointed that none of the editors I tried took a shine to it. Though perhaps I like it too much and therefore can't see if or where it fails as a piece of writing. Or maybe the editors just weren't the right type for this poem. Whatever.

There is perhaps an air of late fifties and early sixties' nostalgia about this poem, as if it had come straight out of that era, and perhaps it did, in a way, with echoes of other famous poems about horses written about that time. It has an unusually gentle and domestic feel to it, which is rather out of step with many of the poems I've written over the past ten years.

Maybe I'm mellowing at last ...

Anyway, 'Apples" will be published soon enough in my new poetry collection, BOUDICCA & CO., due out from Salt in a few months' time - which basically means I can't submit it to a magazine now, with book publication so close at hand. So I'm posting the poem up here on my blog instead, with this photograph of last year's apples in my own back garden to accompany it.



The horses come here for apples twice a day,
nudging the fence and rubbing themselves
against trees, trampling earth
with their hunters’ hooves while they wait.
At first we fed them with palms held flat,
away from the substantial teeth and those warm
brownish lips lifting up to reveal them.
But one always dropped his apple
into white-flowered nettles under the fence
and the other would stoop
to retrieve it, thick sinewy neck supple
as a giraffe’s. So now we roll them into the field
or throw them, over-arm, so they bounce
and split soft apple everywhere.
Some days the children are outside playing
and I lift them up, let the baby
grab at a sleek nose with her clumsy fingers
while the boys stare, mesmerised
by the moist brown eyes and those lashes -
like false ones! - seductively curling.
The gentler one comes on his own sometimes,
whinnying and snuffling at the fence.
He turns a wide circle under the horse-chestnut
before moving on, apples
just out of reach and no one in the garden.


Alex said...

Ms. Holland,

I'm something of a writer too, though at all acclaimed. I do some "venting" myself, though it is called "rantage" in my corner.

I welcome you to the Book Meme. Follow the format below, if you please, and then pay it forward to five other bloggers.



Alex said...

Hopefully the address you go through this time.

Jane Holland said...

You have an interesting site, Alex, thanks for dropping by mine. However, I almost never do the chain-site thing where you do X to 5 or 10 other bloggers etc. I consider that intrusive and - to be honest - wholly unnecessary. People who find your site naturally and return there from time to time tend to be the sort of people you actively WANT to attract. Attracting random hits from random browsers is not interesting to me, nor is it an effective way of promoting yourself!

Now if yours was a UK POETRY site, that would be different ...

But I wish you good luck with your blog, all the same. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

J x

changapeluda said...


Makes me want to imagine my hand with one of those apples in it...flat so the horse doesn't bite my fingers!