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Peach of a life

by joanie 

Posted: 10 July 2007
Word Count: 290
Summary: The exercise in Poetry Seminar - Frankenstein - revitalising an old poem

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Re-working (with bits heard on the television while I was sitting..... a total mish-mash!)

I've told you enough; one shouldn't live alone
it's wrong. It must be years since I opened
a tin of peaches. Fresh is so much better than the sweet
syrupy slices which slide deliciously
down a willing gullet.

No-one possesses you. The juices break out
freeing themselves from the gentle wrapping.
Here I was born; I try to swallow
but I am transported to a childhood sickbed.
Guilt begins to wrack my mind.

It wasn't supposed to happen; my mother
prays kind words to ease the hurt while
the juices break out, freeing themselves
from the gentle wrapping of natural velvet.

I swallow. Here I was born.

Original version
It must be years since,
since I opened a tin of peaches;
don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob about these
things, but fresh is so much better

better than the sweet, syrupy, slimy
slippery slices which slide
deliciously, unhampered down
a willing gullet. Suck them,

slurp them, bite or swallow whole;
it has been so long that I almost
forgot how luxuriantly these
common golden segments can shine.

My taste buds titillated, I try
to swallow but I am transported
to a childhood sickbed; my ulcerated
throat craves relief from

harsh restriction, painful throbs
which dominate my being, my life.
My mother prays kind words to ease the hurt
while guilt begins to wrack my mind

as in my childishness I realise
that all the fault is mine and
nothing will be healed until I totally
confess and seek my absolution.

The juices break out, freeing
themselves from the gentle wrapping
of natural velvet. They flow in freedom
to run down my chin. I swallow.

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Comments by other Members

Okkervil at 12:13 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
I honestly can't decide about this Joanie. I love some of the imagery, and goodness knows tinned peaches are close enough to my heart, but I feel like this still needs some straightening out. The quotes from television seemed to me to be alternately appropriate, then a little confusing. The idea of impulsively reacting to outside influences as you write certainly appeals to me, but I'm not sure what is gained here. Someone else will probably have a better grasp on it. The original certainly makes more sense, but that's not to say it's the better piece. I like trying to be as succinct as possible, and so I prefer the shorter form. There's also a lot more going on in the reworking, which I hope you'll hold on to.
The only thing that actually put me off (and I imagine this is entirely my own fault and I wince as I try to explain), is that my mind threw together the image of a sick-bed (possibly more a C15th sick-bed) with the line 'juices break out' and I had a little mental boak.

Ha. Sorry if I've not been helpful, I just didn't feel like this was the final piece- there must be a balance between the straight forward first writing and the slightly more ambiguous second go.

joanie at 12:17 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
You're absolutely right, James. It was an exercise, still work in progress, if I do anything more with it. It was experimental, and if there is to be an end result, which I doubt, it's a long way off.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment so fully. Much appreciated.


Okkervil at 12:35 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
That's alright Joanie. Hope I didn't seem too rude at the sick-bed remark. I just giggled outright at what tracks my mind runs down, I probably shouldn't have said anything.


(apologies if it did seem rude, by the by)

Laura Hunt at 16:53 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
Hi Joanie!

I liked the first verse of the original very much. It seemed to be setting up a Hyacinth Bucket type to be liberated through the sensuous enjoyment of a peach! And then she is slowly seduced in the second verse; it could develop from here into a really funny performance poem, served well by the sensuously seductive alliteration! You could conclude with the final verse......

The reworking has developed along very different lines, of course, apparently owing more to the middle three verses of the original and, I think, an improvement on them.

I like the metaphor of imprisonment:

No-one possesses you.

and it works well with birth/ fluids etc.,

the juices break out, freeing themselves
from the gentle wrapping of natural velvet.

but does the sick child get in the way?

I think you could develop something (x2) really interesting out of this/these.

It's amazing what you can come up with while trapped in front of the TV. I always write more in the footie season!


joanie at 16:59 on 12 July 2007  Report this post
Thanks, Laura! That was really helpful; I might have another tinker in a little while. Thank you for your full response.


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