The Poem of the Week is 'Now Birds Ravage The Cherries' by Devon Brock

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The Poem of the Week is 'Now Birds Ravage the Cherries' by Devon Brock. Utilising nostalgia and metaphor as a poetic framework for something much deeper, Devon once again shows he can capture a moment, a time, as finely as anyone. Each of our senses are taken on the journey with us, we taste the cherries, smell the warm comfort of the pies, feel the alcohol burn on our throat.


Below, Devon answers our Q&A:


What got you into writing poetry?

Necessity essentially got me writing poetry. In high school I was lucky enough to have an English teacher who understood her students behaviors. Knowing that I would never complete or even really begin her assignments, she told me to "just do something", and I would be graded on that output. So, I started turning in poems, because they were quick, I could get them done on the bus, or in the hall between classes.


How long have you been writing?

I have been writing poetry since the early 1980s. I was a Poetry/Fiction Writing major at Columbia College in Chicago in the early 1990s, though I never received a degree. Luckily for me, I spent my college dough wooing a girl I met there who later became my wife and the subject of this poem and others. I stopped writing altogether in 1995, however, as I was despondent and discouraged by the rejection slips that kept coming back to me in my SASEs. It felt so wonderful to have to pay to be rejected. But back in April of this year, a line popped into my head, and then another, and another, and another...What is amazing about writing poetry, or creating in any medium, is that the very act of the creation has the ability to completely change one's outlook. To be honest, I felt that life was essentially over, done with, that I would live out my days waiting for the shit day my dog dies, and the next. One that April morning, the world blew wide open, I saw my wife again, I saw the vast prairies and the sky for the first time again. Anyway, perhaps I am getting a bit maudlin, but there it is. 


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

In college, a few open-mike nights were required as part of the Poetry Program. They were a lot of fun. The whole class got together for mass readings and drinking at a dingy bar or two. I am sure that wouldn't fly these days. Where I live, sadly, there are no poetry outlets, just ugly pick-up dives and old beer stink.


Who/what is your favourite poet/poem?

My favorite poem/poet fluctuates by the day, sometimes by the minute. I've been gorging myself with Peter Taylor's work here on Write Out Loud. His poem 'Loves Not Lost' is one of the most wonderful homages to past loves I have ever read. It drips with gratitude and respect.


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?

Desert Island - Wife - Myself - Can I bring my dog, Bella?


Now Birds Ravage The Cherries

by Devon Brock


Remember when we were new to these things?

New to our bed, new to this house, fresh to the yard

out back with the rotten poplars. Remember

when we took them down one upon six

and mangled bluejays yet to fledge tumbled out?

How sickened you were by the work of our hands,

new to this love, new to this garden.


Remember when we planted that sour pie cherry

in the place where the bluejays lay buried?

In the ground down stump hole of a poplar

and not a bone could be found.



how we watered and waited and fed and waited

until that third spring when the first white bloom

broke upon our waking. How we threw on the nets

because the cherries were our first fruits netted

and not for the sparrows' taking.


And with each year's cordoned harvest growing

first jam, then pie, then 25 bottles of wine

we drank raw, saving each reddened cork

as a trophy to our wits. And in the fourth year,

as we peeled away the holey skin from the fruits

within, a robin, beak open and stiff as our hoarding

fell to ground where the bluejays were buried.

Now to each bird a cherry, you said.

Now to each bird a cherry.

◄ Chinese poet Yu Yoyo launches first English-language collection

The Quality of Mersey, edited by Barry Woods ►


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jennifer Malden

Wed 24th Jul 2019 14:07

Really beautiful, beautiful, beautiful poem. Expresses the passing of time and the time and love it takes to grow things, but also regret for the death of the birds. Loved the repetition of the last line too.

Really well deserved POTW. Wish we'd had a poetry class at my school.


Jemima Jones

Sat 13th Jul 2019 11:11

Reading this fabulous poem Devon has taken me to a greater height of amazement. Thank you. Jemima.

Devon Brock

Thu 11th Jul 2019 22:17

Thanks again, everybody. Thanks to all the poets here on WoL for sharing so many great poems. Your words, rhythms and forms give me new inspiration to explore. I am feeding off you.


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Jon Stainsby

Thu 11th Jul 2019 20:01

Congratulations, Devon

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john short

Thu 11th Jul 2019 12:37

I like the tone and flavour of this. Kind of bitter-sweet. And the strong connection to Nature. Well done!

<Deleted User> (22158)

Wed 10th Jul 2019 18:22

Congrats on another POTW, Devon. Great work!

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Martin Elder

Wed 10th Jul 2019 10:09

A stupendous winner Devon . A really well deserved POTW, beautifully crafted.
I feel that you ought to publish a collection yourself
Nice one

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John Marks

Tue 9th Jul 2019 20:43


Well-penned Devon.

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Eiren Water

Tue 9th Jul 2019 18:21

Wow. Truly a beautiful story told in a beautiful voice. So much delicious imagery. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the well deserved recognition of your talent.
e. xxx

Devon Brock

Tue 9th Jul 2019 10:40

Thank you everybody for all the encouragement, inspiration and support I needed to keep writing.


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Lisa C Bassignani

Mon 8th Jul 2019 20:28

Another job well done. Congrats!

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Mon 8th Jul 2019 20:25

Congratulations Devon - A story told, a memory thread woven from 'new' to 'Now'

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Mon 8th Jul 2019 20:11

An engaging read with a long reach of time in its grasp Devon! Good stuff indeed.


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Jonathan Humble

Mon 8th Jul 2019 18:02

Wonderful stuff Devon : )

<Deleted User> (22247)

Mon 8th Jul 2019 15:18

Lovely picture. Perfect for this poem.

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Peter Taylor

Mon 8th Jul 2019 12:46

Devon Brock, that is one helluva poem. Entirely beautiful, thank you.

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Mae Foreman

Mon 8th Jul 2019 12:40

Another well deserved POTW! Congratulations Devon! I really can't make sense of those rejection slips... I'm truly baffled by that. Ecxellent work!
Thank you?

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Julian (Admin)

Mon 8th Jul 2019 12:32

Fabulous poem, Devon. Pity about that lawn though.

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