A burst of raspberry

What says summer like a raspberry? I mean besides a green canoe with a blond labrador in the bow wearing a red bandana. Or watching kids chase a frisbee while you char something lovely on the grill. Or the quiet lap of water against the dock that holds you and your canvas sling chair up to face a bluebird sky–

But back to the raspberry–my contemplation of the succulent if bumpy orb was brought to mind this week by a sweet little poem by Erica Jong, “The Raspberries in My Driveway,” courtesy of the Writer’s Almanac on Wednesday.

Photo: Daveography.ca, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Photo: Daveography.ca, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The raspberries
in my driveway
have always
been here. . .

yet
I have never
tasted them
before.

It’s a stop-and-smell-the-roses moment for the busy writer, a moment with which I can totally relate. She echoes this again near the end.

The world was always
there before,
but where
was I?

And this moment when “I burst the raspberry upon my tongue” bursts in turn into an great upwelling of optimism.

if you are so beautiful
upon my ready tongue,
imagine
what wonders
lie in store
for me!

Sweet, sunny, satisfying, if fleeting. A little jewel, a little raspberry of a poem.

And yet, my own experience is a little different. I have left the raspberries in my own driveway for the birds. Unlike Jong, I have always noticed them there, from the moment of their greening.

I have taken enough raspberries out of the wild, as a boy, plundering the gardens of my neighbors after depleting my own. Those beside my driveway, if I hoarded every one, might be enough for a pie.

In my life I have had a thousand raspberry moments. But the birds, whose lives are nearly fleeting as the berries themselves, may only have this one. I can always get another pint from the market.

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