The Abandoned Orchards of Maine

Sep 6, 2019

Today’s poem is “The Abandoned Orchards of Maine” by Pam Burr Smith, who lives in Brunswick and works as a mental health therapist. She is the author of two books of poetry, Heaven Jumping Woman (Moon Pie Press, 2011) and Near Stars (Blackberry Books 2019). Her poems are in the anthologies Take Heart and Port City Poems.

She writes, “I was driving in Knox County on a warm October day. I kept smelling apples, and I became aware I was driving through land that had once been farms and orchards, and a few of the old trees were talking to me of their past.”

The Abandoned Orchards of Maine 
by Pam Burr Smith

All summer long far from the roads
the abandoned orchards of Maine
have pumped out apples—

Newt Grindle, Moses Wood,
Fletcher Sweet, Hayford,
Nutting Bumpus, Sweet Sal.

And now their fruits
soft on the ground
rotting and intoxicating,

or still bobbing proud on gnarled branches—
the fruits will an extension of their rogue lives
into the final act with smell,

a scent that carries everything,
fog sunshine rain night.
October’s dying apples

blend their dizzying
fragrant good byes
from the vanished farms around us. 

Poem copyright © 2019 by Pam Burr Smith.