The Orange by Wendy Cope
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
The days feel like the air is heavy with water. I was drowning through so much grief and death in the world. How do I go on as if we haven’t lost so much?
Do you ever get that, the remembering? You have forgotten that there is another side of you, another version of yourself that’s not so bad, but it’s been so long. And then one day, you suddenly remember, and how that blooms in your chest like an orange suddenly there, on the counter, a pleasant surprise? It sucks out all your breath for a second—then it comes rushing back, and there it is. Yourself that’s not yourself, but that’s also a part of you.
Which is to say: I slept the whole day today. When I woke up, the space between the things I’ve done in my life and the person I am seems to be smaller now.
What else can I do but continue to love?
This poem appeared in Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope, published by Faber and Faber, 1992. Shared here with profound gratitude.
“A collection of poems featuring works by Cope such as “Bloody Men”, “Men and their Boring Arguments” and “Two Cures for Love”.”
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