Birds, Bees, 
and an Orange Tree 

A lone orange fruit tree is abuzz 
with the life of its habitant ants, 
in their practical way, who have wound 
up around like electrical lines 
one thin trunk of the many-trunked tree 
high into evergreen foliage 
to a safecracked and burrowed sweet brooch, 
while five-pointed blossom white stars 
from thin stamen are twinkling end 
of the summer sweet pollen in love 
for their pistils.  Much fecund, much seed. 
Blooms, contentedly fertilized, bulb 
at their base with round infant green fruit, 
as a spectator circles above-- 
one black turkey vulture--quite aware 
of rich life in its niches and roosts. 
And the storybook bees, go-betweens, 
are here pushing their heads in and in 
as they grab at weak petals and rub 
against stigma to consummate friends. 
In the midst of this sex, with rouged cheeks 
preens a hummingbird, perched on a branch 
of a second small trunk, whose head bends 
for soft licks with a filament tongue 
on green feathers; who ruffles the back 
of its neck with a beautiful shake, 
then posing with two closed Spanish fans, 
flicks its wings open--feathers pop out 
from their crescent bone curve, and the bird 
with its piccolo chatter flies off 
as one anxious to flirt with its kind.


Poem Copyright 2001, Kent Chadwick The Heart Wants Image Copyright 2000, Sharon Carter (first appeared in Literary Salt Issue I)

Kent Chadwick is a West Coast poet living on Bainbridge Island, Washington. His poetry has appeared in Left Bank, Soujourners, Fishtrap Anthology 1995, Vox Populi 1999, Jack Straw Writers Program 1999 chapbook, and the anthology Deep Down Things: Poems of the Inland Pacific Northwest. He writes a regular column on Northwest 
Books for the Washington Free Press

"Birds, Bees and an Orange Tree" is written in the metrical form of anapestic trimeter - which means that it focuses on a short-short-long rhythm (an anapest is a unit of 3 syllables with the accent on the last, as in "disagree").

Sharon Carter obtained her medical degree from Cambridge University and immigrated in 1979.  Her poems have been published in many presses including Pontoon and King County Metro's On The Bus. Publications including her art are: Spindrift, Raven Chronicles, Chiyo's Corner, Disquieting Muses and the Permanente Journal. She has been awarded a Hedgebrook residency and is currently on the editorial board of Literary Salt.
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