Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pomegranate Lover

If the beet is the most intense of vegetables, then perhaps its fruity soul mate would be the pomegranate. A blood-dark, passionate, nocturnal pair they would make, the one channeling a forbidding, frozen Slavic fervor, only to be engulfed by the feverish seeds of the other's Mediterranean femme fatale charm. The Greeks said it was the swallowing of four pomegranate seeds that caused Persephone to remain in the underworld as Hades's queen, while her mother Demeter wept above and let the Earth become a mournful wasteland. Would the beet's diabolical cunning have been enough to rescue the pomegranate maiden from the depths of the underworld? Think of Rasputin and Persephone walking hand-in-hand along the Neva River.

After I posted a photo of beets accompanied by an incarnadine entourage, my friend Adam mistook the giant red onion for a pomegranate and suggested that this delectable crop be added to the assembly. Unfortunately, by the time I remembered my lonely pomegranate in the hanging fruit basket, it was too late to integrate it into another vegetable medley photo. This led me to request that my poet friend write a pomegranate poem for Weird Vegetables so it could have its very own post. Adam promptly complied and has since written several iterations of the poem "Pomegranate." Here for you to devour are two versions, an earlier composition and a later sonnet that is the most recent version posted on Adam's poetry blog, The Twittering Machine, which you should bookmark right this second! Also courtesy of Adam is a link to a recipe for vegetarian Iraqi pomegranate soup.


We wished to wring our hands clean of it,
undo on ourselves any hint

of having entered it, door after door
through blood-red rooms we went,

so innocent we could barely breathe,
knowing nothing of ourselves that was not spent

for us by another’s hands; we knew, for instance,
how to tell a face apart from a cent

that the touch of a surface was where
each world would end, not the front

for a secret so thoroughly hollowed
out of us, with hands giving rent

to skin: what remained hidden for us
to find was an ecstasy--oblivious, as a saint,

of what would be left to our bodies
after the spilling of paint.

—by Adam Ahmed


We wish to wash our hands clean of it,
undo in ourselves any hint
of having entered it -- pit after pit
through untold corridors: we spent

our innocence for access to the other side
of a story -- half-formed, unmeant
for even mirrors -- with trembling hands fed
ourselves a part of the pulp we rent.

Poor reader -- the story, overwrought,
refuses the bait of a coined phrase; that day
we live to recant -- what shade remains pent

in our minds like a contrast dye --
forms the closest tint to a pint
of blood our systems can tolerate.

—by Adam Ahmed

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