Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Peaches

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Kate Barnes, a resident of Appleton, is a former poet laureate of our state. Just behind the anecdote of her poem is a story with implications for mothers and daughters everywhere.

Peaches by Kate Barnes

Jenny, because you are twenty-three
          (and my daughter),
you think you know everything;
and because I am fifty-three
                                      (and your mother),
I think I know everything.
A week ago you picked up two green little peaches,
only half-grown and still hard,
from under the loaded peach tree
and put them on the kitchen window sill;
and I thought
          (though I didn?t say a word):
they?re too small, they will just rot
but I won?t move them, Jenny put them there.
Now the summer is over and you are gone,
the mornings are cool, squashes conquer the garden,
the tree swallows have flown away, crickets sing?
and the sweet juice of your peaches runs down my chin.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1994 by David R. Godine. Reprinted from ?Where the Deer Were,? David R. Godine, 1994, by permission of David R. Godine. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.