Picking Olives


Picking Olives

Angle Vale

A sky hot April morning

hens scratch from stifling sheds

behind the rust and wire of their yard

earth is burred with brown couch

and the sharp spines of caltrop

red ants cross-hatch red clay

orange buckets and a yellow rake

under the dull green shade

of a leafed-in harvest

black Kalamata

half the old Greek farmer’s thumb

swung load of purple fruit

six small cuttings

smuggled from Skiros in his singlet

that dreamed a future out of dust

this could be somewhere else

stretching into an ancient arbor

of afternoon

pomegranate, fig, and quince

to where a dog's bark defines distance

and a handful of olives – the moment.

Picking Olives

Sandy Creek

There are barely two colours: green and grey.

The first, of dull drab olive from the hill;

and secondly, a close knit-sky that weighs

above the trees a massive crop of chill:

a long canvas the old man borrows from-

to pull beneath the trees. And she, whose shape

now questions the ground for answers takes on

a small grizzled piece of the same cloth to cape

her hair and shoulders. See with their sticks

and pails what strange creature they are become-

who mine the long ripe hedge and heavy pick

of hidden fruit. Winter winds its own numb

sheet about the scene - hemmed with wind and rain.

Two pale ghosts who harvest summer days again.

©Jeff Guess 2017

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