Dedicated to goddesses, a tree of life, I bring fecundity, fertility, fidelity when planted.
Symbol of immortality and togetherness for Ancient Chinese, my sweet flesh never divided to
‘A gift from the gods’*, my heavy fruits promise newborns’ safe birth, growth, longevity.
My female cults as rare as my wild genus, cultivars carried by corsairs and missionaries
propagate the world.
IRENE LOFTHOUSE | Pear | Yorkshire
You were my ‘afters’ decanted with incantations,
slippery with syrup, swimming in sterilised cream
a translucent sliver slipping easily down
my oesophagus, my Sunday supper.
No knowledge then of your feminine form
facilitating fertility cults
seeding suggestions that ingesting your
flesh fed female fecundity.
At Scarry’s greengrocers you were common
or conference no other inference
of your cultural influence
or numerous names.
Beurré Bosc, D’Anjou, Winter Nelis, Nurato, Coscia,
Passe Crassane, Plymouth, Bon Chrétien or Bartlett.
Pliny the Elder’s Superba, Crustumia, Pomponiana,
Greek archas, apios, Chinese lee, li, Japanese nashi.
Green-fingered gardeners grafted unknowingly
‘gifts from the gods’ in our ‘Homes fit for Heroes’
allotments linking Ancient Greeks growing,
planting, propagating, pollinating, pruning.
No knowledge then of your numinous nature
your mystical magic marking misfortune,
prohibiting the paranormal, a talisman
taunting the Devil and his demons.
Collected from neighbours for our school baskets
of Harvest Festival Fayre, you were
fresh food and songs delivered to Flower Garth
residents’ flats at Flower Fund Homes.
No knowledge then of your longevity
bestowing immortality, of folklore and fairy tales
mythology and memories far and wide
revealing the wit and wisdom of women.
Painted prolifically each year by
classes creating seasonal sets for singing
competitions, striving shrilly to be the
‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ champions.
No knowledge then we were perhaps continuing
a chanteuse tradition of Languedoc,
a linguistic link to Old French, corruptions
of collet, pertriz, perdrix now an English classic.
Eaten in Autumn, no cosseting for you
in our cellars or over-wintering
held in hessian in out-houses and sheds
like the crop of our orange pippins.
No knowledge then that you were of literary persuasion,
your aged body used as insinuation of impotence,
a withered womb, dried and dead as the dodo,
in Dickens, Shakespeare and other lofty literati.
A delicate dessert, a perfumed pudding revelation
at late twenty-something, a mouth exploding sensation,
I savoured your scent, a clove-infused creation, I was
dumb-founded at the depth of your temptation.
No knowledge then of a demise or decimation of your stock
in horticultural societies, nurseries and orchards,
that cultivars carried by corsairs would disappear,
that pyrus is now the poor relation of malus.
You’ve become my ‘before’, promoting a promise
of pilgrimage to document and detail extant
samples of your species living in my locality,
sacred to my Greek goddess name, my ‘Peaceful Pear’.
Trees of Britain and Europe, Blacks Nature Guides
Tree Guide, Johnson & More, Collins
‘Seeds of the Past’ HLF project on Ravenscliffe Estate, Bradford (where I was born)
RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate
Community Orchard, Holmewood, Bradford