Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

W&S Sketch II: The Crab Apple Tree

For those who don’t have Water and Silt, the poem I’ll be talking about can be found here accompanied by John Spiers’ drawing.

Raised in the suburbs, I knew only a little of the difficulties my parents faced growing up.  My mom’s parents were immigrants, and she was a child of the city surrounded by a mix of Irish, Italian, and French-Canadians, all struggling as best they could in a new country at a time in which things were terrible economically. My dad grew up on a farm so in many ways had it easier, and while only only eight miles from the downtown area, it might have been hundreds.

Since my maternal grandmother died when I was only seven,  I have few memories of the farmhouse with its ornate curtains and the sun pouring in through the windows. I can remember sitting on a slope that led up to the cornfields talking with a cousin. Another time dancing about as the marvelous seedpods from a maple twirled like helicopters as they fell. Near the large oak with the tire swing was another tree, and all about its trunk in a circular pattern were crab apples, which I examined to see whether they had holes before brushing one against my t-shirt and biting into it, tasting a tartness that remains with me to this day.



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20 thoughts on “W&S Sketch II: The Crab Apple Tree

  1. Wonderful memory and did enjoy John’s drawing.


  2. Always good to have fond memories. I can see you checking for worms first!


  3. A reminder that we too must leave profound and beautiful memories for those who follow us….


  4. Concerning crab apples and farms remembered from most of a life time ago: The farm did stretch out that far, to a ten-year old anyway. Now it is sadly suburbs and I’m as old as its dirt. The tree was one with an abandoned chicken coop that I foolish hid in, thinking its screen door would protect me from an older cousin’s mighty throw. Applesauce.


    • I’ve got a soft spot for farms and maybe even more so for farmhouses.

      Hiding in an abandoned chicken coop seems reasonable. In such situations it’s not like one has a whole lot of places to choose from. I think it’d make for a great drawing though in mine I imagine it’s not completely abandoned – there’s a rooster who for whatever reasons hasn’t left the roost and who has something to say. A bit like the little sparrow in Arkas:


  5. Thanks for sharing this (and as an aside, I find it strange to find myself using that particular phrase without any trace of sarcasm). Really, memories are all we have in life. I don’t mean that to be either glib or melancholy. I think it is a beautiful thing.


  6. Your poem reminded me of growing up in the country (from age 14 to 21). We had many apple trees on our property. I do recall the tart taste of a crab apple. My preference, though, is a Macintosh.

    Beautiful poem and drawing, Tom. ;-)


    • Thanks, Judy. I’ll take credit for the poem but I can’t for the drawing.

      I think I’ve probably had Macintosh apples but not sure. They’ve got a little bit of a bite to them?

      Growing up in the country sounds great. I’ve spent most of my life either in the city or suburbs but did spend two years in a rural area though we weren’t on a farm.


      • Tom … I’m not sure how to describe the taste of a Macintosh, but they are my favorite apple.

        We had 66 acres, but only farmed about a half-acre for us: potatoes, tomatoes, etc. Mom canned a lot for the winter and Dad chopped wood for our fireplace. Other than that, we were just city/village folks living in the country. ;-)


  7. I’m always amazed at how differently we remember things. People at the same events have very different memories. I must admit, I can’t ever remember biting into a wormy crab apple but i too remember their tart taste.


    • Better not to bite into a wormy crab apple!

      Yes, the way we remember things differently is amazing. It’s like eyewitness testimony, where you’ve got many different people all telling a different account. I wonder why that is. I’d be interested in reading about though if you know a book about it or if someone else could recommend one.


  8. So many senses awakened in this memory. I could almost feel the warm sun on me and taste the crisp apple. Lovely.


  9. Enjoyed both the poem and drawing!


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