fallen in October’s bluster, not Winesap,
not Northern Spy, but yellow-skinned,
Everything sticky. Gathered into buckets,
even the wasps. Fruit, worms and all,
decanted into the wooden press that takes
the strength of two to work—you smash
the tubful with a wooden club. I lean hard
on the grinder lid and you turn the grinding wheel.
The pieces tumble into a loose-staved barrel
lined with cloth and you screw down
the pressing plate tight, tighter, and from
that mash and the pommace after,
comes the pour of pure amber
we drink straight away. And here’s to
the aging of it, the bottling,
the hardening, the warmth it gives.
Thank you so much for accepting “Ode to Cidering.” I had never before been this close to the cidering operation—close enough to gather drops from trees so old their varietals were indistinguishable, close enough to see the bugs that would be crushed with the apples, close enough to smell the pour of the cider, and to drink it fresh from the press. It was magic.
Statement on The Take:
What a remarkable picture Wizansky’s poem paints—deliciously rich and heady in its diction and imagery, much like the satisfying “pour of pure amber” itself. Celebratory of autumn, the poet’s romantic description of the messy “worms and all” cidering process pleases the senses through a sweet and sticky, single-stanza ode, providing an abundant bevy of warmth.
Jonah Meyer, Poetry Editor