Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heirlooms

Nestled deep in the vines
is a flash of bright red -
the last fruit of the season.

My knees in the dirt, I reach
inhaling the earthy greenness
of lingering summer
until

cupped in my hand
is a tomato
so sun warmed and perfect
that I am tempted
to pierce the tender skin with my teeth
and let its juices wet my tongue.

Instead, I halve
its beauty with a knife,
then scoop the flesh and seeds
into a watery jar
to ferment and mold
like a family secret.

In a day or two,
I'll scrape and rinse,
collect the heavy sinkers from the bottom of the jar,
and carefully wrap them in netting to hang and dry

through the cold, dark months of another winter;
an unbroken line
to another spring.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

47 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nice...an unbroken line to another spring...little bit of magic in that family secret...love me some summer tomatoes....

Laurie Kolp said...

Beautiful... everything is linked together.

jen revved said...

I always think, whenever my senses respond to a poem as they do to this one, that the writer is on track, comprehending what poetry is and how it gives us the world in microcosm-- not in grand statements but moments. Really lovely. xxxj

Pat Hatt said...

Locked away from winter until spring gives a ring, don't we all wish that could happen to us too, at least most of the time.

Claudia said...

an unbroken line of tomatoe seeds to another spring...how cool is that...think i should save some as well..

Lolamouse said...

A very sensual poem! I gave up on my tomatoes, as the squirrels always stole them! I would have LOVED to do exactly as you described!

Kerry O'Connor said...

And so the cycles of nature are perpetuated, and Spring is always a promise kept.

Beachanny said...

"to ferment and mold like a family secret" - love the tomato as a metaphor and marker of everyday life, sustenance that is sun warmed, and life giving taking us sun to sun, season to season! Excellent

Daydreamertoo said...

There's nothing like home growm tomatos, they taste so much better than shop bought.
Lovely piece from you MZ!

Madame Sweetcheeks said...

You've taken a simple, ordinary moment and made it so much more meaningful. Such hope in the survival.

ayala said...

I love this...it brought me back memories of my mom and my grandma :)

Sylvia K said...

A perfect moment, saved forever. We could all use a perfect moment like this -- and hopefully save it as well.
Beautiful, MZ, as always!

Sylvia

Susie Clevenger said...

This reminds me of my youth...gathering tomatoes for my mother to can...then the trek down into the damp cellar to store them...and also it could be secrets, washed, preserved...and then left to rot

Grant said...

very beautiful

Steve King said...

So well composed and measured...Wonderful commentary on continuity and survival. Imagery of birth and creative transformation. The last stanza is a great curtain line. Very nice poem.

lori said...

Such a vivid picture you paint with your words. I can still see it all in my mind after the words have passed. Lovely :)

Arron Shilling said...

stocking up - with some great poetry - vivid and somehow moving

wolfsrosebud said...

Ah...I really like this. The moment, the thought, to the future.

eclipsingwinter said...

I would not have been able to resist sinking my teeth into it. Love how the poem changed direction mid way. Great poem.

Beth

Fred said...

Another great write. Love the way you describe each detail and the connectivity that moves throughout the piece. Thanks, great read

kaykuala said...

MZ,
It'll be tomatoes galore for years if done every season (Tomatoes are convenient vit C providers but be warned, it is bad for arthritis! Verify if you may since you'll be with it for years)

Hank

hedgewitch said...

Great tinge of sensuality and a sense of things closing in in this one MZ--I'm not sure what you're making out of those tomatoes at all, but it sounds potent.

pandamoniumcat said...

Beautiful!

Kim Nelson said...

Ah yes... ensuring the survival of the species can be a bloody, moldy mess. But necessary, and so worth it in the end... ;-)

johnallenrichter said...

Only the best will survive! My father did that every year, so proud of his own strain..... You just totally took me back to his February basement where year after year he would grow his seedlings under grow lights, ready to pass out hundreds of plants to friends and neighbors by late March or April..... I miss growing his tomatoes.... Lovely thoughts in your poem....

Reflections said...

Love the details of lineage portrayed by the simplicity of tomatoes,setting seeds for the line to connect year after year. Beautiful.

chromapoesy.com said...

The biologist/botanist in me loved this and it made me think about seed banks and all the marvelous plants that are becoming extinct. Fantastic write MZ!

waysidewordgarden said...

Homegrown tomatoes are just the best. Must wait now until next year to taste them again.
Love this: "unbroken line/to another spring". And those family secrets-- moldy if they stay bottled up-- what a great line. Strong, reflective piece. :)

Dave King said...

Sexy in the way that only food can be. A fine poem.

Christine said...

very juice write, we sometimes just throw our compost in the middle of the garden it's amazing the salad that tries to grow out from under that stuff in the spring, an odd tomato plant, next to a vine of gourds

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

Wonderfully told scenes of seasonal rituals. Excellent!

ab said...

Perfection. I love this change of season.

Charles Elliott/Beautyseer said...

Wonderful poem that captures the cycles of the seasons, the delights of heirloom tomatoes, the sense of stewardship you have in nurturing them from year to year. Thanks for the read!

manicddaily said...

I could smell and taste this. So lovely--halving the beauty.

Ann LeFlore said...

This is wonderful and planting, growing and coming again year after year. I love this because we do so enjoy planing green beans and all kinds of fruit trees on our land home here on the islands it is so fun to watch them grow and pick what we have planted to eat at night thank you
http://gatelesspassage.com/2011/10/04/memories/#comment-1442

Kavita said...

Aahh... winter needs such summer aftertastes, doesn't it?
This one's sour, but sweet too... abd the metaphorical usages, awesome!
Yumm, Mama Z!!

Ed Pilolla said...

i love the image of jarring. i have been playing with a piece built on that. going from the vines in fall to the fast forward of creating something to survive until spring was especially savory.

Alice Audrey said...

This makes for an interesting recipe.

The Orange Tree said...

cute, love the recipe.

The Orange Tree said...

cute, love the recipe.

darkangelwrites said...

So Mama Zen is this how you get seeds for next year? It is a bit magical.

mrs mediocrity said...

oh, i LOVE this... both as a gardener and as a poet. great imagery and the ending is just perfect!

Morning said...

you are quite capable.
very inspiring piece.

Rallentanda said...

I never realised a tomato had such interesting potential.Well crafted poem.

Shawna said...

"that I am tempted
to pierce the tender skin with my teeth"

There is nothing tastier in all the universe.

LauraX said...

"through the cold, dark months of another winter;
an unbroken line
to another spring." Oh...gorgeous, gorgeous writing!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Beautiful write.

Anna :o]