David Malouf

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Give a summary of David Malouf's poem "Wild Lemons."

"Wild Lemons" describes a path on an island, which seemed to show signs of habitation and other vague but promising indications that it was worth taking. The poet does not specify what was at the end of the path, but it has led him to where he is now. In a final image, his dreams include the scent of the wild lemons on the island.

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The poem begins with a path on which the speaker recalls starting out among "blazed trunks" of trees, marked in such a way as to promise that the path must lead somewhere. The speaker and his unnamed companion took the wild lemon trees as a sign that they were expected to participate in some event at the end of the road, one which would not occur without them.

The speaker saw the trees themselves as evidence that someone had been there before them and planted the trees to provide slices of lemon for drinks. The warmth of the island also seemed vaguely promising. All possibilities were open, but as they made their way down the track at seven o'clock in the evening, they had no idea what awaited them. This was a compact that had been made out of silence, which meant that it could never be explicit or clear.

Now, the speaker lies down in a different climate, though he is the same man with the same body. This is where the track has led him. When it is dark, he sleeps, saying that his body tags along with his dreams "to see what goes." What goes, the speaker says in a final image, is time, as clouds melt into the next day's breath, and the distinctive scent of lemons persists.

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