Notes to Poem: Orange

Peter Y. Chou,

At the 32nd Annual Foothill College Writers' Conference, Andrea Hollander Budy had a Poetry Workshop on Saturday, July 12, 2008, 3:30-5:00 pm titled "Fresh Approach, Fresh Results". We read William Meredith's "The Illiterate" and Michael Waters' response poem "The Inarticulate". Other examples of Answer Poems she listed were James Wright "Milkweed" and Philip Levine's "Milkweed"; Andrew Marvell's "On a Drop of Dew" and Robert Cording's "On a Drop of Rain"; Donald Justice's "Men at Forty" and Andrea Hollander Budy's "Women at Fifty". Andrea handed out a sheet of five poems to the class— Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays", Mark Doty's "Golden Retrievals", Mary Oliver's "Postcard from Flamingo", Ruth Fainlight's "Handbag", and Laurie Lamon's "Potato". Each of these poems were read out aloud. Then we were instructed to write a response poem to one of these poems as a 15-minutes writing exercise. I chose Lamon's "Potato" perhaps because it was the shortest poem on the page. I had written an earlier response poem "Ascension" (10-2-2007) when I received a surprise email from a longtime poet friend whom I've not heard from in ten years. Because the scaffolding is already in place, it was easy for me to complete "Ascension" and "Orange" in a short time.


There is one beauty
it knows. The rest is blindness,
earth closing around itself,
surrounded by hunger.

For a hundred days,
a thousand, it is the same
dark eye looking
inward. Thinking of light.

Remembering the pressure
of soil. The seam
of water finding its heart.

And afterward,
blossoms ringing through

— Laurie Lamon
     Atlantic Monthly (January 2000)


There is one law
it knows— geometry:
The point, line,
surface and sphere.

For a whole season
and more in the seed,
stem, leaf and fruit,
it appears.

Remembering the sunlight
moonlight and the wind
nourishing it along.

And now the orange
offers its juice to you
in this song.

— Peter Y. Chou
     Los Altos Hills, 7-12-2008

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (7-14-2008)