PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


Copyright © 2010 Pirene's Fountain.


All Rights Reserved.


Betsy Martin has an AB in English and American Literature from Harvard, an MA in Russian Language from the Middlebury Russian School, and an MA in Russian Literature from Brown. She lived for a year in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, studying at the Pushkin Institute. She now lives in Newton, Massachusetts, and works at Skinner House Books in Boston.

Ruby Towers | In the Orchard


Ruby Towers

In daylight they're scarcely there,
mundane sturdy steel
unseen, seemingly silent
in a landscape of busy buildings,
of people in cars chattering
on cells, taking for granted
the nourishing electromagnetic gush.

But they spring up at twilight
in the hugging blue-black brittle
February chill, warm beety
heartlets that grab you and engage you,
when other things are inklings only—
a spot of the space station,
sprinkled salt of stars,
an anemic dry moon,
a suspicious craggy hill,
the dark intellectual groping of trees in silhouette.

They communicate constantly
for fliers not to crash
(and some in spite do painfully collide),
but their pulsing riches are
jewels better than a ring,
their FM pheromones flowing out
in waves of harmony, melody,
symphonic cacophony.

I feel their rhythm in your palm
as we stroll at starry-eyed crepuscular dusk.
You've been a vibrant gift,
a rare renaissance piece.
I love the soft playing
of your lashes on my lips,
your chocolate-marrowed irises,
hands radiant and calloused
from clasping the guitar.

In the dead of night
when most are long gone
to sleep, or numb, drugged,
stumbling out of night clubs,
the towers still beat their generous vigil,
with visible, infrared,
micro and radio waves,
their broadcasts enfolding and filling,
whether we are tuned in or not,
us and all who ever felt
a hairsbreadth of affection,
a brush of lust
for another's inner stuff.
An eye's twinge.
A heart's obscure spasm.

April 2010

In the Orchard

Arms entwined,
we pluck apples—
Adam and Eve
like a million after and before,
tasting the tangy flesh
from the black gnarled sprigs.

We've tasted all the types:
Mac, Mutsu, Macoun,
Cortland, Spy, and many more.
If we slipped on the applesauce-rot beneath,
fell and died,
we could decompose
in this pungeant paradise,
wise and full.

 October 2008