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!


12 responses to “Thirteen ways to enjoy a papaya (poem)

  1. this was like a mini lesson in all things papaya.. how wonderful… i seldom like them here, in northern california,, as they are picked green a ripen off the tree.. they seem to go from hard to overripe before i ever enjoy them….

  2. part 1, 12 and 13 are my favorites, I like your use of short verses

  3. ahhhh a tasty papaya… with lime of course… or maybe some plain yogart… you have described it just as it is… a bounty of info.. with a beautiful story intertwined… excellent response to the 13…

  4. Lirone, you did a beautiful job with the thirteen. I love each and every one. On the plus side, you have made me long for a papaya now. I enjoyed your poem very much. Have a nice day.

  5. I love this! Great inspiration, I immediately looked on WikiHow to find out how to write a haiku poem.
    Consider one blogger (me) seriously taken with this way of writing poetry – thank you !

  6. Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed it. And I hope those of you who started craving papaya managed to find a nice ripe one to devour!

  7. What an eloquent tribute to my favorite fruit! And you are right: they do not taste the same here as in my beloved Brasil where it is called mamao, and where I became positively addicted to it.

  8. We call it Pawpaw in Australia. I haven’t had pawpaw for ages 🙂 It’s winter at the moment and the only pawpaw is imported and very expensive 😦 I guess I’ll just have to wait until summer.

    I think your poem is great. Very invocative of the “fruit of the angels”.

  9. I had a papaya tree in my garden when I lived in Malawi and we really enjoyed the fruits….

    I really enjoyed your poem too, a wonderful mix of biology and imagination

  10. Yes, it does make a difference when you get to eat these amazing fruits in tropical climes… glad that it seems to have brought back good memories for many of you!

    Oh, and Granny Smith, I’d have thought your favourite fruit was the apple!

  11. Pingback: Just Deserts (Limerick & Haiku Prompt — through July 7th) » MAD KANE'S HUMOR BLOG

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