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The Orange by Wendy Cope

The Orange
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?

Serious Concerns by Wendy CopeSOURCE

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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Comments (2)

  • Robert Goodrich

    The Young Woman on Youth Sunday

    Like a young doe emerging into an open field,
    she stands erect, alert, wide-eyed, motionless,
    driven out by hunger, but hoping to disappear
    into the silence of the sanctuary.
    Who is not drawn to her there,
    sensing dangers she does not yet comprehend?
    Another young woman at the podium
    speaks of the mystical experience
    of encountering animals in the wild.
    We, middle aged or worse,
    are having our own mystical encounter
    with the heartbreaking beauty of youth
    on the cusp of experience.

  • Gosh, how this resonates with me ” … the space between the things I’ve done in my life and the person I am …”


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