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Disorderly Behaviour

Last year our apricot went wild

with fruitful abundance. Branches akimbo

in unpruned disheveled straggle

like some old unshaven gypsy, drunk

on sun and rain, dancing for his life

a huge sprawl of yellow ochre clusters

filled the space between the prim and proper

walnut tree and the bashful mulberry

this crazy golden apricot bursting

all over with fruit.


Thin branches heavy with ripening globes

dipped closer and closer to the ground. Daily

we gathered basketfuls – a lot of the bounty

already dropping off on to the grass. The maggots

and the birds were having a ball, calling their

kinsfolk to join in the feast. Desperately we

gathered more, made cauldrons of jam,

carted loads off to neighbors and friends. But

the fruit kept coming.


Then the inevitable happened. With groans and

sounds of cracking branches, whole sections

snapped and crashed to the ground. Within a

few days the tree had lost half its bulk. The trunk

and remaining branches stood forlorn like a

patient after chemotherapy wailing in anguish

over her lost mane of hair.


We should have known better. Should have pruned

it on time. A season later, now a shadow of its

former self, a few tiny green beads are beginning

to appear again. But I think we will have to rely

on last year’s jam.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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