Why I Love Pumpkins


Because they roll into town on the backs of trucks
with a loud, orange
tomatoes, apples, and melons
moving from the market stalls
to make way for their huge invasion.

Because the grocers pile them row on row
with the same skill that builds stone fences.

Because this fall for the first time, living
as I now do farther south, I saw
a whole field, pumpkins tumbling
to the horizon and doubling back,
and I had to stop the car to stare
as if I'd come upon a herd of deer.

Because they are more accurate than calendars or clocks.

Because of the grin some mother or father
carves for a child. The nose,
the triangular eyes that look at you
as if they know your face.

Because a candle flickers inside inside their heads
like memory
striking its paper matches and blowing them out.

Because they are the last
of autumn's light, the last to ripen,
an explosion, a contradiction of
colour in the colourless fields.

Because their flowers are deep yellow,
because their five-lobed leaves resemble hearts,
because pumpkinseed is also
the name of a fresh-water
fish resembling perch and the name of a type
of sailing boat.
Because you can therefore travel on a pumpkinseed
across any kind of water, or holding it to your ear,
hear the secrets of the sea.

Because the OED says, "A single pumpkin could furnish
a fortnight's pottage."

Because they are not a vegetable
for the delicate, the weak-hearted.
When you knock on their doors, someone
might answer, beckon you inside.

Because they are moons defeated by gravity,

hugging the earth in their orbits, as we do,
dust to dust. Because in soups and pies
and thick slices of pumpkin bread,

we taste what they know of time.

Because of the small distances
they travel on their trailing vines.

Because they float just above the earth
like lighted buoys marking the safest entrance
to the harbour.

Because the deer, born in the spring,
return to the pumpkin fields
after the harvest,
and are lost,
though they nibble with their soft mouths
the broken shells left on the ground
and slowly
find their way.

Because the first snow falls,
the first snow falls,
into the huge silence
the pumpkins leave in the fields.

- Lorna Crozier (x)


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