Wednesday, March 22, 2006



A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, pleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunched leeches, wrenched teachers.
What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, sweet velvet
richness, plashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me in the sweetness
of your reaches.

Peter Davison

I chanced upon this poem quite some time back, and immediately thought of keeping it for this ‘project’ which has been in incubation (and procrastinations for far, far too long). This beautifully crafted poem is as much about peaches, as it is about the sheer delights the poet takes in language.

Just as a peach is a mouthful to bite into, so it is with the word ‘peaches’. The poet then engages in a verbal play with words. Clearly, the almost arbitrary list of words and phrases that follows is like the savouring of the rich sweetness of a peach, enjoying the oozing ‘juices’ of language in the mouth – its sounds and its sensuous suggestiveness created through internal rhymes in the assonance of the sounds ‘ee’, ‘each’, ‘unch’ and the alliterative ‘h’, ‘b’. The ‘tightness’ in the mouthful of language to swallow is suggested in the lines about the pulling up of one’s britches up to the waist.

Next, the “hunched leeches” connotes the sucking of the blood of language (not negative), just as ‘wrenched teachers” struggle over the mastery of language. Indeed, the freshness of this poem masks the painstaking craft behind it: in tying or plaiting up the “pleached branches” of words. At the end, as one savours the art and language of this poem, it ends off in the last three lines in pure ecstatic pleasure. As a last note, I will just add that these lines may perhaps be suggestive of the ‘o’ word, which I shall leave to your imagination.

(the wonderfully irrepressible Sharon will be up next week :)

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Blogger bibliobibuli said...

the ‘o’ word, which I shall leave to your imagination

don't be bashful dreamer idiot!

you've done a great job going first and set a high standard, both in terms of the poem chosen and your comments on it

i love this very sensual poem and had great fun reading it out loud for the sound of the words ... and peaches are such sexy fruits ...

6:31 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sharon. I don't read much, so the choice of the poem was just pure luck when I bumped ino reading it. More often that not, I only get to the shallowest reading of a poem, so I guess this must be a real rare exception.

It's really nice and I too enjoyed reading i aloud, rolling my tongue along the words.

10:42 PM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anna said...

Congrat! Much needed.

9:10 AM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger Spot said...

How bizarre, to realise that I was almost salivating as I read. Pavlovian perhaps, at just the thought of peaches.

Love the imagery...particularly the line "breaches in walls".

You're right about that sense of "tightness". I might add that it's also reflected in the "compactness" of the poem's visual structure. Brings to mind, for me, that ever-so-teasing resistance you get as you bite through a peach's skin.

And of course...clench. Wow. :)

Amazing how one-dimensional words can conjure such multi-faceted feelings.

Congratulations on the project, great start!

11:31 AM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger Sham said...

Loved the play of words and a real delight to read out loud !
Good effort - I look forward to popping in to see updates.

1:09 PM, March 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

English doth ransack...Juice trickling sticky finger ride.
Did you say non academic bibliobibuli?
Choice is personal-no apologies needed... Great job dreamer idiot!

2:48 PM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger Yvonne Foong said...

I didn't think of the poem that way. It sounded like gibberish to me.
But this is just me. haha! This is something new though. thanks for sharing and educating!

6:57 PM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger desiderata said...

hi dreamerI:

A greAt start to a dreEm project --
Desi today has to ponder about my own funny breaches,
which and witch?
Oh, i'm not on heat, it's that bitch
I'm not even rich
An occasional idiot like thee, ishhh
I wish
I could wring that neck on
one particular Q-bitch
One with wicked mouth and crooked reach
I'd better stop, I hear a hiss...
That bitch turn'd into a snake... zzz

"Congrats! dreamerI"
Hope to send you pOme of mine!

9:50 PM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Thanks everybody for all the kind words and encouragement, I really appreciate it.

Spot, you got me there on Pavlovian. I had to try to search for its meaning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights (good to be learning from u). Yeah, I guess its Pavlovian in some ways...a visceral reaction to words and their sounds. And "clench", that's powerful...

Yvonne, thanks for dropping by... we may all have different understanding of a poem, brigning in our peculiar insights/ visions, and there will be poems which may be totally inaccesible to others. :)

Desi, I'm afraid you lost me there. Will get back to u. :)

11:05 PM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger madcap machinist said...


8:15 AM, March 24, 2006  
Anonymous ben said...

interesting blog,read the poem, it is abt peaches but the final lines made me think of sex. am i reading it right or am i twisted? and what exactly is this 'o' word?

1:21 PM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger Kak Teh said...

I came here immediately after getting yr message and the word is "wow"! This is certainly a brilliant start. Thank you for alerting me to this.

4:39 PM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Machinist, thx for your enthusiasm to fire us up... hope you will stick around even when some 'boring' or difficult poems are put up.

Ben, the 'o' word? Hahaha, it has something to do with s_x. 'wink'. That's the sensuality of language that is conveyed through the metaphor of peaches.

Kak Teh, thx so very much. So, will u consider being a partner here for malay and world poetry? :) I will e-mail u, or u can e-mail Sharon.

9:52 PM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger madcap machinist said...

you mean it's not always going to be as raunchy as this? haha

I'm looking forward for more. Even the difficult and 'boring' ones as you say; it's not always so obvious what makes a good poem.

10:04 AM, March 25, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

A fun poem to read aloud. While holding a peach. :)

6:58 AM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous edo said...

nice share

3:33 AM, November 12, 2011  

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