Young Woman Gathering Lemons

The apronful sits on the swell of her belly,
that taut new world she merely borders now.
Above, a hundred pale suns glow;
she reaches for one more and snags her hair.
Citron, amber, white, a touch of lime;
the rind of colour cools her palm.
Extra tubes and brushes she would need –
a three in sable, or a two
should catch the gleam around each pore.
Such yellow! If there were only time.
She presses to her face
its fine sharp scent of loss
then sinks her forehead onto her wrist
– the tears drip off her chin –
till the child tugs at her dress.
She kneels to hug him close and breathe him in:
‘Who’s got a silly old mother, then?’
It dizzies her, the fragrance of his skin.
He nuzzles under the hair come loose.
The fallen lemons, nippled gold,
wait round them in the grass.

Jan Owen, used by permission of the author and publisher

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.