red and green

on my doorstep
a brown cardboard box
tied with string

standing in my kitchen
I cut the string
and open the box slowly
lifting away the paper inside

and all is red and green
and smooth and curved and fresh and ripe
skin and leaves
one long green crunch of cucumber
and balls of plump red juiciness

I lift one round red globe
and the sunlight bounces off the surface
five green fingers reach out from the stem
gestures of greeting in the quiet room
I hold it close and there’s the distinctive tang of tomato
the scent of a summer garden

and so much more
I see the hands that lifted each rosy globe
felt the weight and pressed thoughtfully on the skin
the hands that snapped the ripe fruit from the vine
the hands that nestled each one into this box
arranging and rearranging for the perfect fit
I see the hands tying the string
and checking all is secure
hands that reached for me
and held me as gently
as these tender fruits

all acceptance
and generosity
the hands of a gardener
growing love


flavour : poetry : day 7

six thousand photographs
taste of time and love,
pain and determination
who would have thought
these black and white
relics could taste so rich?

these small portraits
are bitter-sweet
and speak of a time
when you used colour
to flavour your life
paint became the spice,
the chilli, the salt, the honey
the canvas became the table
on which your life was served

love and art and pain
are the three fire dogs
on which your life was seared

scrape the spines from the nopales
crunch the slices between your teeth
slice open the papaya
roll the seeds around on your tongue
split open the watermelon
quench your thirst with the sweet juice

leave the fire dogs sleeping
live life in the raw

there is passion
in the ripe fruit,
the soft flesh
the spiky skin
describe the body
you live within

hold the bitter chocolate
in your hands
until it melts
and paint
with that
then lick
your fingers

heat the tortilla until it curls
wrap yourself inside it
like a funeral shroud
Xochiquetzal the goddess of painters
is your guide
as you walk through marigolds
Mizcoatl, Tozpan and Iiutl
the fire dogs stand guard
Huehuetéotl the old god
lights a new fire
ensuring your purification,
your transformation,
your regeneration

it was never your intention
to live within convention


© Claire Griffin 2016

flavour : #introtopoetry : day 7 : found poetry

I saw an exhibition a few days ago – “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos”, just a day or two after reading the next challenge was “flavour”.
I sat in the exhibition and wrote the first six lines. After that, I remembered the paintings of fruit and other foods, and the connection to flavour was made. Searching for information on Mexican food, I found references to the old gods of Mexico – I hope they don’t mind the way I’ve included them here.
So I’ve taken some liberties with this challenge – reinterpreting the intent of “found poetry” by finding text and inspiration in the exhibition, in her paintings, and in websites describing the food of Mexico, and I used all these to inform the poem.