Daily Archives: April 5, 2008

Thirteen ways to enjoy a papaya (poem)

1 – Tropical greeting

A welcoming sign –
The glistening succulence
Of tropical rain.

2 – A papaya by any other name…

Betik petik, kates
Wan shou kuo, kuntaia. And

3 – Dakini food 

Black seeds glistening
Piled high as an offering
to the transcendent

4 – 80%

Versatile papain
Digests protein to keep clear
American beer

5 – Means of support

Scarred by falling leaves
Each spongy and fibrous trunk
Endures, coffee-grey.

6 – Flower biology

White flowers pentandric. So 
diversely petalled.

7 – Flesh

Flesh flushed fiery hues
Sweet as tropical sunshine –
El Dorado’s gold.

8 – Just like a human

Tolerates cold, but
Needs warmth and humidity
to truly ripen

9 – Pharmacopia

Combats dyspepsia.
Degums natural silk. Also
Removes stray freckles.

10 – Columbus

Parched sailors gorging
On sweet new delights. Praised the
“Fruit of the angels” 

11  “One farmer in the village borrowed 20,000 baht – four months’ wages – to become a papaya farmer. But he did not know how or when to sow his papaya seeds and lost everything.”

Knowing when to sow
Separates rich harvest from 
Catastrophic loss.

12 – Serving suggestion

Sweetness of lush life
Made poignant and more vivid
By sourness of lime

13 – They just don’t taste the same here…

Traveller at home
Yearns for journey’s sweetness. So 
Must depart again.

This poem was inspired by a prompt at poefusion to write a 13 part poem around a single image, inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

With the taste of genuine South American papaya fresh in my mouth and mind, it took very little time to choose what I wanted to write about! I’m not quite sure why I made each verse a haiku – I suppose I wanted a form that gave me short but structured verses. I made unashamed use of google to generate new ideas and images – fascinating what you can find out! Though fitting some of this information into 5 or 7 syllable lines was challenging, it probably stopped me overindulging and boring everyone with trivia!


Tropical delights…

There’s something about the taste of papaya… a real tropical papaya that’s so ripe and succulent that it barely resists as you bite into it…. sweet and refreshing in the mouth.

Something that says that I’ve arrived in this new country, something that reminds me of why I feel so much at home in South America.

Something that says “I’ve arrived, and it tastes good!”

(photo from toastforbrekkie at flickr)