Dr. Philip Metres, a professor in John Carroll’s English Department, was recently featured in the New York Times Magazine for his poem Ode to the Oranges of Jaffa.
Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye, the Times called Metres’ work on Jaffa, “particularly searing to read during days when annexation of the occupied West Bank is bandied about like a bargaining chip and people make decisions for other people’s lands with no just resolution.”
The feature story on the below poem can be found here.
Ode to the Oranges of Jaffa
By Philip Metres
My father used to buy the ones too large to ship. We’d scoop the insides and eat it and then make jack-o’-lanterns out of them.
Nahida Halaby Gordon
For you’re oval & thick-peeled, easy
to remove. For you’re seedless & tough
skinned & suitable for export.
For your juice starts sweet, then runs
bitter. For naranj comes from Sanskrit,
meaning “fruit like elephants.” Memory
the earth you come from, & perfume
the whole city, when wind pages through
your leaves. For by 1845, thirty-eight million
shipped to farther shores. Then symbol
of Arab-Jewish cooperation, before the war,
then orange engine of the new Israel.
For the last Jew to grow them now says, to cut
the orchard down would be to cut out my heart.