Life is funny. After writing my entry for One Hand Clapping this morning, which was full of the world’s doom and gloom, I discovered a bag of Bartlett pears on the kitchen counter. My wife and I bought the pears at a nearby fruit stand about three days ago, and kept them in a closed brown paper bag for ripening. When I opened the bag, I was surprised to see how far the pears had progressed. Their perfume was heavenly. Inspired, I washed what appeared to be the ripest one, sliced the fruit, and arranged it on a small plate. The taste was unbelievable. The pear was almost as good as some my brother and I had eaten in Armenia in 1982 — but not quite, because the Armenian pears I’m thinking of were a bit larger and sweeter, and were being kept cold in a villager’s bucket that she had lodged in the snow by the side of the road. That, as I have mentioned elsewhere, is my most treasured pear-eating experience. Still, this morning’s pear was startling in the way it excited my memory and aroused my senses. While I was eating, I was surprised again and again by its texture, flavor, and aroma. At once, I found myself worshipping life, and the miracle that is nature, and giving thanks to those whose labor had made the moment possible. I won’t say I wept, but I was certainly happy enough to do so.

And now, unfortunately, I must interrupt these pleasant thoughts to make note of an intervening reality: An ear-shattering military jet just flew over our neighborhood, heading north. Aside from what the plane cost to build, it is painful to think how many people could be fed with the money being spent for its present operation. And that is only one jet, on a simple training mission. It gives a person something to think about, since we know that at this very moment, elsewhere in the world, the sky is being violently torn by such jets on missions of mindless destruction.

I won’t say I wept, but I was certainly sad enough to do so. For this, too, is the fruit of our labor. But this fruit has been poisoned, and when consumed — for who can say that he has not tasted the bitter fruit of humankind — it pollutes the mind and body, distorting our vision and creating inner conflict.

Pears. Fine, ripe pears. Yellow pears. Is it still possible to speak of them as they deserve to be spoken of? I will try. A pear is a gift of the sun. It is a distillation of rain absorbed by the leaves and roots of the tree upon which it passes so many silent hours. A pear is a joyful, fleeting moment in the earth’s history, and its own timeless legend. This is the pear. But it occurs to me that this is also the child — the same terrified child upon whom our — humankind’s — bombs are falling.

So maybe I should weep after all — for the pears, for the children, and for the rest of us.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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