The Friday Poem on 10/03/23
According to Greek and Roman mythology, lemons were the dowry of Hera, the bride of Zeus, who kept them hidden away in a garden at the far end of the earth. Rebecca Ferrier’s poem ‘The Dowry of Hera’ takes the tang and the taste of this zesty citrus fruit as a starting point and riffs on it in a really unusual way. It is oblique, intriguing, and evocative, hinting at some past loss or hardship. We like its tone – it is confident, allusive and generous.
The Dowry of Hera
I am training myself in happiness through lemons:
think well, dart citrus to tongue, take joy’s embalmment as sweet lemonade.
Between an avenue of knuckle is a pip I squeeze from joint
and plant to yellow the outside. It grows. I think on its skin to my skin to other skin:
how I can trace all the lemons ever held back to a single lemon
better than I can map people. If I tried, I could taste a lemon tree’s heart.
I would do this even for an enemy. Take her tang
down generations to man’s root. You see, I want to love you
enough that your ancestors know their pain was worth it.