sunday bear: li-young lee

“Chad” (Bialosky by Gund, 1985)

The Gift
by Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.
Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.
Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.
~ from Rose, copyright © 1986 Li-Young Lee  (BOA Editions, Ltd.).
♥ Today’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you by Mr. Cornelius, who wishes everyone a Happy Father’s Day. He would also like you to have a piece of lemon meringue pie, favorite of Jama’s father James. ☺
Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

friday feast: poetry friday roundup is here!

“In summer, the song sings itself.” ~ William Carlos Williams

photo by BékiPeti.

Happy Poetry Friday!

So glad you’re here. I can’t talk too much, because my mouth is full of sweet juicy peach. The past two weeks, I’ve been gorging myself on these perfect orbs of blushing summer goodness and appreciating how beautifully they epitomize the season. Summer days are long, slow, lazy-drowsy sort of affairs where you might just get it into your head that time is standing still. Peaches originated in China, where they were favored by emperors and consumed by the immortals. They’ve always symbolized longevity in Chinese culture.

I invite you to taste this poem and savor its essential truth. How many summers can you taste in one bite of peach? Ingest this perfect moment in time; reflect on the eternity of words.

by Li-Young Lee


From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background, from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

photo by Priscilla1295.

I’m anxious to see what delicious treat you’ve brought to today’s feast. Please leave your offerings with Mr. Linky by including the title of your poem or the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name, along with a comment.


And, to tide you over while you’re reading all the good poems being shared today, please help yourself to some peach sorbet or peach pie. If you happen to be smiling at this very moment, you may have both! ☺

photo by jensteele.

photo by chocolategourmand.

Thanks for joining us and have a great weekend!!

“It is the poet’s privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” ~ William Faulkner