Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you.
—Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”

Fruits are like a Siren call
That lures me to the produce stall
Stacked with all that tree-grown stuff
Of which I cannot get enough.

I hunger after Anjou pears;
Firm apples can dispel my cares;
Citrus globes of every kind
I’ll devour to the rind.

Cantaloupe and watermelon,
Blush-red grapes with juice a-swellin’,
Mango, guava, and papaya—
Strum their praise on lute and lyre!

Figs and kiwis get my vote:
Bananas raw or in compote;
The nectarine, the quince, the damson
Leave me helpless as bald Samson.

And yet, if I could have my druthers,
There’s one more luscious than the others,
Sweeter than the peach or berry,
And that’s a nice ripe tight-skinned cherry.





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Joseph S. Salemi has published poems, translations, and scholarly articles in over one hundred journals throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. His four collections of poetry are Formal Complaints and Nonsense Couplets, issued by Somers Rocks Press, Masquerade from Pivot Press, and The Lilacs on Good Friday from The New Formalist Press. He has translated poems from a wide range of Greek and Roman authors, including Catullus, Martial, Juvenal, Horace, Propertius, Ausonius, Theognis, and Philodemus. In addition, he has published extensive translations, with scholarly commentary and annotations, from Renaissance texts such as the Faunus poems of Pietro Bembo, The Facetiae of Poggio Bracciolini, and the Latin verse of Castiglione. He is a recipient of a Herbert Musurillo Scholarship, a Lane Cooper Fellowship, an N.E.H. Fellowship, and the 1993 Classical and Modern Literature Award. He is also a four-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Prize.