Thursday, April 05, 2012

Day 5: The accidental poem

Today, I looked into Nathaniel Griffith (the man who planted the first commercial Gravenstein apple orchard in Sonoma County on his Laguna Road property).  He was good friends with Luther Burbank (hence the trip out to For Ross I mentioned yesterday) and they often met to discuss altering the Gravenstein to extend it's season.  I've seen cuttings of the Winterstein, one of these variations of the Gravenstein that never really took off at Burbank's experimental farm in Sebastopol.  While I was researching Griffith though, I came across my "accidental poem".  Turns out, Griffith had three daughters, all of whom were extremely artistic.  One of these daughters, Grace, was an incredible painter.  Here are a few of her paintings I was able to find online.  What's interesting is how after the orchard was gone, after the farmhouse had burned down and their father had died, the girls (who had all had pretty successful careers as artists) returned to live on the property in their old age.  And if you look Grace's work, it appears in her artistic mind she never left.  Here is attempt at a draft for today:

The Accidental Pull

Griffith brought Burbank to his orchard on
the flat Laguna.  From his home the trees
spelled across the wide expanse in straight rows. 
Already, they were good servants –yielding
a ton of fruit each.  But the season was
short.  Burbank had ideas for winter fruits:
the Winterstein, still bittersweet tasting,
but with tougher skin to withstand the frosts.

The three girls could see the men on the porch
as they sat in the skirt of soft grass surrounding
the willow.  Spring had covered the grass
between rows of apple trees in yellow
mustard.  They made a game of following
the strokes of color – the low freckle of mustard,
the high powdery acacia, to the
solitary exclamations of
yellow iris crowing the front yard.  Years
later, after Burbank’s experimental
trees had failed.  After their father had died
and the green wooden farmhouse had burned down.
They would remember this inventory:
how that day the golden lines had burned in
them a tether to this land.  And each day
after they would try to pull themselves back.


Walt said...

I bit into a Burbank apple who was made to withstand the cold
it had a skin so tough and thick my teeth knew they were old
With my knife I started to whittle to get to the white below
but the blade was too darned little, through the leather could not go
so I searched for my saw, with its teeth it did gnaw
but the sweet fruit it turned into sauce
gosh, that was a flaw, the season’s faux pas
and the loss made poor Luther feel cross.

Walt said...

cheep limerick style, obviously no student of Poe