Summer in Bucharest

Fleur Adcock

We bought raspberries in the market;
but raspberries are discredited:

they sag in their bag, fermenting
into a froth of suspect juice.

And strawberries are seriously compromised:
a taint – you must have heard the stories.

As for red currants, well, they say
the only real red currants are dead.

(Don’t you believe it: the fields are full of them,
swelling hopefully on their twigs,

and the dead ones weren’t red anyway
but some mutation of black or white.)

We thought of choosing gooseberries,
until we heard they’d been infiltrated

by raspberries in gooseberry jackets.
You can’t tell what to trust these days.

There are dates, they say, but they’re imported;
and it’s still too early for the grape harvest.

All we can do is wait and hope.
It’s been a sour season for fruit.