I am growing downward,
                              smaller, one among the grasses.

                                                            – Wendell Berry (“Thirty More Years”)

Irrigator until the end,
the vines were his children,
more easily trained than those
               of his flesh.

Water flowed in furrows,
slowed to soak with checks,
his art with a hoe stretched
               across eighty acres.

Quixotic silhouette against
a rising or setting sun,
swashbuckling overshoes,
               hoe in hand,

he found peace deep within
his vineyard rows, red-seeded
table grapes, long ago dozed
               for citrus on drip.


9 responses to “ODE TO EMPEROR GRAPES

  1. I recall.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elegantly evocative…splendid ode, Duff!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this and love Wendell Berry.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is this father or grandfather or great uncle? It could be any or all, or a lot of other folks around Exeter. I think the last gasp of the Emperor was the Dofflemyer 10 acres at Daly’s Corner (NE)..

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was indeed the last gasp. Dad loved the late market durability of the Emperors and couldn’t accept that they would be replaced by the seedless Flames.


  5. Such a picture of the changing times
    Thank you


    • This bunch is a little tight for an Emperor, but how I wish I could have taken the photograph…lately. I had forgotten how beautiful a bunch of grapes looked on the vine with bloom in tact, before they went to putting table grapes in plastic bags. Yesteryear indeed! Thanks, Jim.


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