sang ripe

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
The next thing I remember was Portia reading a poem from
her book to Hugo as the Apollo employees snapped the chairs
shut around us. “‘I nibbled the nimble nectar of our music
/ And danced with love’s ghost / Our sugar-coated courtship
sang ripe / With passion’s dazzling pleasure.’”

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

What does sing (sang) ripe mean in this context?
What does it say about their courtship?

Please help. Thank you.
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I found the passage in context in Google books. The narrator and her friend (not her lover) Hugo have been to a sparsely attended book reading by a local author, Portia, who evidently had a prior sexual relationship with Hugo within some sort of orgy group of which they were both members (it wasn't a courtship). Apollo is the name of the bookstore and its owner. The reading is over, and the narrator, Hugo, and Portia (who assumes that Hugo and the narrator are lovers) is quoting a poem from her book. The lines are bad poetry and essentially meaningless; "sang ripe with passion's dazzling pleasure" suggests that the relationship described was sexually very thrilling. It is not a common collocation (a Google search led only here and to the King book).


    Senior Member
    Our sugar-coated courtship sang ripe
    As to the parsing of this line, I believe 'ripe' describes the courtship, as though 'sang' (a past tense of 'sing') were a copula. Compare: She smelled sweet. It sounded wrong. He looked upset. The food tasted fresh. 'Sing' would not normally be used as a copular verb, but in poetry anything goes.

    A somewhat more prosaic version would be: Our ripe sugar-coated courtship sang with passion's dazzling pleasure.
    < Previous | Next >