Plum bones

A quadrille for the dverse prompt—spoil. In old French, and still sometimes in the the Midi, fruits don’t have stones, they have bones.


Around the plum tree,

wasps gathered,

humming through clenched teeth

where fallen fruit lay.

Sun baked,

sugar wept from bruised wounds,

and the smell of spoilt fruit festooned the hot air

with scents of Christmas.


Bare now the hard earth

except for plum bones.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

61 thoughts on “Plum bones”

  1. humming through clenched teeth…….that line is amazing.
    I remember the spoilt rotting apples neath our 6 apple trees when we lived in the country and that sickly sweet smell. Your description here is excellent….I like the idea of “plum bones”.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you think so. I’m trying to think more in French. Since we’ve lived here I don’t have much communication with the outside world and my youngest tells me I’ve developed an ‘English’ accent. She tells me I’ve started to roll my rs too, which isn’t very English. I’ve just got lazy. can’t be bothered making the effort I suppose.

  2. jane, your poem reminds me in some ways of that old song ‘I gave my love a cherry without a stone’, which I used to love singing at school.

    I love the image of sugar weeping from bruised wounds and those plum bones.

  3. You wow us, entertain and instruct us; many thanks. Bones and stones–what breaks what? Plants break the backs of concrete; go figure.

  4. I love plum bones. I’m going to have to start using that. 😉
    This poem is so full of vivid images and scents, too.
    I really like this line–so visceral: “sugar wept from bruised wounds,”

  5. Interesting and magical how one word, Christmas, introduces a new feeling or memory into the mix of the spoiled fruit, much in this prompt trail about all of life feeding new life, looking forward from that darkest solstice to spring renewal. Your poem is tilted outside of the usual chronology however, it all present together, now – alternate and succeeding timelines all broiled together in the rich visions and smells feeding the world at the base of the tree. That is, I think, another of the childlike aspects. Just wonderful Jane.

    1. Thanks so much Lona! It’s true I have begun to notice that there is no break in the cycle at all. The aspects of growth change, and slow and sometimes take a rest, but there’s always something happening, gestating or gathering strength. Like the oak trees that don’t shed their old leaves, just hang onto them while the new ones grow.

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