Cranberries and Blue

Clouds and Blue Sky, First Day of Autumn at Red Bank Battlefield

And now, the sky is clearest blue,
gone summer’s haze, the color true
where eagles, herons, geese fly through

into tomorrow. Now the air
is crisp—soon crisper—and see there
the leaves are turning gold? Prepare
as now’s the time for harvests, too.

Grapes for wine, apples for the pies
and sauce, tossed in a pot—time flies—
between sun and moon, lows and highs.
Taste the tart and bittersweet, chew,

swallow, wallowed grief–holidays
she’ll never see. Cranberries stay
on my mind, and Thanksgiving Day
with the blue-squirrel mold—it’s hard to

say, the family tradition—
how she held it, the condition
of it unsure—no prediction
what cranberries will do. And you

cry, but it’s not the fruit. Life goes
on. Leaves turn, and the river flows
with secrets and ghosts undisclosed—
cranberries sauced, but you are blue.

Our precious squirrel mold for Thanksgiving cranberry sauce

This is Zéjel for Grace’s Meet the Bar prompt on dVerse, and also for Mish’s fruit prompt on Tuesday. I was thinking about Thanksgiving and our family’s cranberry squirrel the other day. We haven’t all been together since before my mom died.

69 thoughts on “Cranberries and Blue

  1. I love the imagery of the cranberries in the squirrel bowl, representing the bittersweet memories and the sadness of loss. A beautiful poem of changes in life’s seasons!

  2. I love the turn of the season and the poignant memories of those cranberries. Of course, there are memories we do treasures and we hold it close, like family traditions. I am feeling blue indeed.

  3. BLUE SQUIRREL could be another title, although it veers toward existential and possibly topical, which is my bailiwick and landscape. Your piece was tinged with just the right amount of sadness.

  4. That was wonderful Merril. I love this time of year. I have a mixed feeling about cranberry sauce. If it’s a solid jell, no way — but if it’s natural chunky and tart, I’ll eat it all day… well, just for the dinner.

    • Thank you, Rob. The squirrel mold is such a part of our family tradition, that even people who don’t like cranberry sauce look forward to it. There’s a whole thing about un-molding it, and did it work this time. I like cranberry sauce, but homemade is a million times better than the canned stuff.

  5. I love cranberries, but I only ever (and always) make them for Thanksgiving. What a roller coaster of images and emotions–like this changing season and the memories it brings of times with family.. Food is so evocative. (K)

    • The mold has lived at my house for a long time because we’ve hosted Thanksgiving. My niece used to make the cranberry sauce with my mom, but then she took it over. Usually I give her the mold sometime earlier in the Fall. Last year, we met outside, and I gave her the mold to make cranberry sauce for her family, since she has children at home. She still has it. I made some cranberry sauce for just me and my husband without the mold. 😔

  6. Beautiful poem…seasoned with so much love! Loving people can make us blue because we miss them so, but, just as the geese fly into tomorrow, so must we. That is what our beloveds would want for us. Cherishing their memories, using their lovely things to create the same wonderful foods that they did…this is a beautiful tribute. We honor their lives with our love; we celebrate the holidays with them in our hearts.

  7. As soon as I saw the title of your post come across my email I thought of your mother. Your poem so effectively captures that push/pull between grief and life as we mourn the passing of a loved one.

  8. kaykuala

    I was thinking about Thanksgiving
    and our family’s cranberry squirrel the other day.
    We haven’t all been together

    How nice to revive and retain the family tradition. It is a form of reminder to the next generation! Best wishes Merril, Ma’am!


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