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'O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade'

From Blossoms
by Li-Young Lee
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Poem as Friend to Jessica

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From BlossomsBy Li-Young Lee
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In this episode, Jessica talks with us about the poem that has been a friend to her – 'From Blossoms' by Li-Young Lee.

Jessica joined The Poetry Exchange online, via video call, for one of our Lockdown Exchanges.

Jessica works as an Audio Producer with Listening Books, an audiobook lending charity for those that find their illness, mental health, physical or learning disability affects their ability to read the printed word or hold a book. You can find out more about this wonderful charity here: www.listening-books.org.uk

And tune into their podcast here: bit.ly/3xPZjxH

You can also listen to our podcast episode: 'Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins - Poem as Friend to Vahni' here:

bit.ly/3gLrYOG

Jessica is in conversation with Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and Michael Shaeffer.

Michael reads 'From Blossoms'.

From Blossoms

by Li-Young Lee

 

From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the boy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward   

signs painted Peaches.

 

From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

 

O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   

the round jubilance of peach.

 

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

 

Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

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If you like this, we invite you to discover our conversation with Vahni Capildeo surrounding the other poem as friend Jessica mentions in this episode: 'Spring and Fall' by Gerard Manley Hopkins

ABOUT THE POETRY EXCHANGE

We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 

 

We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.