Notes for Olive Poem #2

To be crushed for the light,
to fulfill this garden’s purpose,
fruit must first grow to maturity.

The phenological two-month stages of the olive:

I. The Spring Bud:

a. Winter’s march gone
b. A new stem yawns
c. Sprouting, unfolding
d. Fruits bud, floral clusters

II. Flowering:

a. Weeks striving
b. Just/only/perhaps 2% fertilized
c. Amid such waste, life blooms
d. Summer’s heat looms

III. Curd: 

a. The heat of summer culls a fall
b. Fruit forms, flowers wilt, dance down
c. Leaf sinks to leaf to soil
d. Survival, reproduction, toil

IV. Emerging: 

a. Most difficult phase
b. Photosynthesis activity reduced
c. Heat rises, dries dust dry, the fruit greens
d. Stomata close to conserve moisture

V. Envero: 

a. Veraison
b. Fruit takes color
c. Green or black
d. Maturation into diversity

VI. Maturation:

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a. Fully fleshed
b. Hardened core
c. Engorged with purpose
d. A gathering in service

Fruit milked like teats from branches–
brown knowing fingers–
the handling of jewels.

Fruit shook from trees–
greedy machines grip trunks,
shake treasure into nets.

A year of growth into being of use.

What passed for life this year?
What did the groves hear?
What did Gd whisper?
What is this precious thing?

Born to be crushed for lighting.
Cared for, prayed for, tended,
to be crushed for lighting.

Life is but a flash in flesh, 
mere wind shapes you
bruises you, hardens your core.

Will the olive whisper back:
for whom is my light
I will never see?

As it is, I must burn.

This light is of my innermost
and it will only come
of crushing me.



Image by João Campos.