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Apple Butter
Signe Eklund Schaefer


So much on the list to do
but the apples keep calling
a bumper crop from our own little tree
shiny red and sour
no worms or bruises
Use us they keep whispering
don’t treat us like you did the basil
waiting past prime
and so in spite of other weighty tasks
I begin to cut and simmer
and turn the old neglected mill
It’s apple butter I want
a taste from childhood
more special than sauce
As I sieve off seeds and skin
I remember long ago jam making days
fifty pots of blackberries
from beloved English hedgerows
picked as a family
all of us purple lipped
Once as I stirred the giant pot
my five year old
bounced in with a question
Mommy, what is God really and heaven?
I just kept stirring
buying time to reply
She looked so serious
then suddenly reflected with a grin
I guess it’s one of those mysteries
Before I could catch my breath
she bounded from the kitchen
back to whatever she was playing
when God popped in
Stirring the apple butter now
that question goes round and round
sweet mystery
and sustenance for another day

© by Signe Eklund Schaefer.
Used with the author’s permission.



Signe Eklund Schaefer's articles and poems have appeared in several anthologies and journals and she is the author of four books, most recently, I Give You My Word - Women’s Letters as Life Support, 1973-1987. Signe has lived and taught in many different countries, always pondering the mysteries of human life and development. Now retired, she has rediscovered the joy of inviting poems to express daily moments and memories. Signe lives in western Massachusetts with her husband of more than 50 years.






Post New Comment:
Lovely! To Signe: That moment of bliss: when a child ponders deeply and reaches her own conclusion (so true!). May I share copies of this poem with mothers in a parenting class? My work is with women in recovery; I offer a free play environment for their children while moms engage in our therapeutic program, and I annually offer a parenting group based upon Circle of Security. Please let me know how to contact the author for permission to use her poem. Sincerely, Martha
Posted 11/08/2023 10:18 AM
Delightful. I have happy memories of my mother making apple butter, so this poem plugs into that. Love the "God popped in" line.
Posted 10/22/2019 04:10 PM
Wilda Morris:
A beautiful poem. "God popped in."
Posted 10/22/2019 11:06 AM

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