Poetry Friday: Cherry Tomatoes by Anne Higgins

Join the  Poetry Friday Roundup with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone.


We had a very wet Spring which seemed to last well into what should have been Summer.  All that rain delayed the planting of everything from corn to (my summer favorite) tomatoes.  All of the farm stands around us have been bursting with zucchini for weeks now with nary the sight of a single tomato…until today.

Today I came upon a farm stand with a glorious pile of fat fire-engine red tomatoes, sitting next to pint boxes of cherry tomatoes.  I scraped together all the change I had to buy a box (all the change available between the seats and under the mats of the car), which I placed carefully on the seat next to me.

My first thought was to save them for a lovely salad at lunch tomorrow.

But, those tomatoes kept calling to me.

The road home was banked by cornfields on one side, green gold under a perfectly blue summer sky.  Great bales of hay sat basking in the sun on the other side, their just-cut scent still wafting through the air.

So, I had a second thought, the best thought of the day, really.  One by one, I ate each all the way home.

Cherry Tomatoes


Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
breathless heat.
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.



13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Cherry Tomatoes by Anne Higgins

  1. Oh, Tara, that poem just perfectly captures how I feel about my cherry tomatoes, finally coming on:
    “…so warm and sweet
    from the attentions of the sun,
    the juice bursts in my mouth,
    an ecstatic taste,”
    Love the conclusion to your tomatoes buying venture: “One by one, I ate each all the way home.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The sweet corn just arrived here-yum! And some tomatoes. I’m still waiting for my daughter’s crop! So right: “breathless heat” on my morning walk & love “in the mouth of summer”. Our cicadas have arrived; summer is on its way out, so time to savor these wonderful things!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Tara, I loved reading about your spontaneous and delicious tomato celebration! And then Anne Higgins’ poem allowed me to taste them… mmmmmmm. This is just what I needed to cheer me up. Perfect. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yum! I’m SO glad those tomatoes didn’t last!! (Makes me feel a little better about my young thieving self who snagged all the ripe ones in the early morning before I biked to the pool where I worked. Finally one day at lunch, Mom said, “I can’t figure out what’s going on with the tomatoes. There are plenty on the vines, but there never seem to be any ripe ones…” GUILTY!!)

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Tara, I enjoyed reading your post, especially since we just traveled to Central New York and passed by so many farm stands that I wanted to do just what you did. Your paragraph starting with the road home was beautifully written giving me a view into the countryside by you and Anne Higgins’ poem was full of sensory images. “The mouth of summer” is a wonderful one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Delightful word pictures of a country August day! The poem captures it perfectly. Vine ripened tomatoes hold the richest, sharpest flavor, and we’re blessed here with several farmers’ markets in our central Washington valley.


  7. Oh–the mouth of summer–what a perfect description of those perfectly ripe tomatoes. We’ve just started enjoying our first tomatoes. We shared that long wet spring.


  8. You painted such a lovely picture and then augmented it with the perfect poem! I don’t enjoy eating tomatoes on their own, but your post prompts me to rethink that stance!


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