Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Weight of Sweetness

No easy thing to bear, the weight of sweetness.

Song, wisdom, sadness, joy: sweetness
equals three of any of these gravities.

See a peach bend
the branch and strain the stem until
it snaps.
Hold the peach, try the weight, sweetness
and death so round and snug
in your palm.
And, so, there is
the weight of memory:

Windblown, a rain-soaked
bough shakes, showering
the man and the boy.
They shiver in delight,
and the father lifts from his son’s cheek
one green leaf
fallen like a kiss.

The good boy hugs a bag of peaches
his father has entrusted
to him.
Now he follows
his father, who carries a bagful in each arm.
See the look on the boy’s face
as his father moves
faster and farther ahead, while his own steps
flag, and his arms grow weak, as he labors
under the weight
of peaches.

Credit


From Rose (BOA Editions, 1986). Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of BOA Editions.


 

Author


Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents.

Date Published: 2017-11-06

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/weight-sweetness