Monday, July 27, 2009


What's better than watermelons in the summer? I love this poem by Jane Hirschfield first because she's able to evoke metaphor so briefly and simply. I'm always drawn to poetry that employs common language to do uncommon things, and "Green-Striped Melons" is a perfect example of this. The free, three-stanza form emulates the very essence of poetic discourse in its most fundamental distillation: observation in the first stanza, analogy in the second, and discovery of the significance of that analogy in the third.

The poem also reminds me of those bad watermelons--and perhaps Hirschfield intended this, and perhaps not-- the melons that look amazing on the outside but when you cut them open they are too ripe, too red, too sweet. Maybe even rotten. Are "some people like this as well-?"

Green-Striped Melons

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

Happy Reading


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