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