My wife has never been a big Brszny Derydaripov fan. Or, to put that another way: she thinks his poetry stinks. ‘Poorly constructed, insincere, brainless and just… just… bad‘ was her succinct review of his most recent collection, When Doth (first mentioned here). This represents something of a progression. His previous work (Mark of the Moth) was simply thrown across the floor and trampled on, repeatedly.
Her reaction, therefore, to my intention to offer Derydaripov a deal to re-publish When Doth was not what I would call positive. ‘Upside-Down-Then-Backwards has published some silly things in its time,’ she said, rather cruelly, ‘but this is a step too far!’
Is she right? A perusal of one of the poems in question may go some way to settling this thorny headed question. So here, for your poetry-reading pleasure, is the full text of When Doth the Icy Apple?
When doth the icy apple fall?
In autumn, when a cake of dead leaves
breaks beneath a swollen foot
and fierce winds blow your sweet cheeks sore?
Or winter when it blows some more
and wraps you in its wicked robe
of snow that bites the whitest skin
kept closet cold and tender raw?
Or does the apple fall in spring?
As daytime sinks, mists gather in
and hug the evening orchard tight
’til blossoms burst from buds and sing
Sing for the coming summer when
the grasses grow above the heads
of children playing, praising days
when nature muscles up to men
The seasons spin, the question stays
and we in wonder thus remain
too small to scale those orchard walls:
I know not when that apple falls.
(Brszny Derydaripov, 2009)