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September 2011

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All content © 2007-2011 Jama Rattigan. Please do not reproduce in any form without permission. All rights reserved.

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poetry friday

friday feast: the power of blue


                           
         Source: D. Sharon Pruitt, Pink Sherbet Photography

Some of you may have noticed I've been a bit obsessed with BLUE this week.

Maybe "obsessed" is too strong a word. Try, "enamoured." Yes, that's better. Though green has always been my favorite color, lately blue's been toying with my affections, surprising me with its uncanny guises (I think there's a picture book in there somewhere). "Call me by any one of my names," it teases, and I'll set you to poetic dreaming: cerulean, azure, cobalt, lapis. Aquamarine, baby, powder, indigo, denim, royal, robin's egg. Prussian, sapphire, midnight, electric, teal, sky, navy, steel, periwinkle.

If green is growth and renewal; red, power and passion; and yellow, sunny optimism -- then blue, besides being cool, musical, and melancholy, is deep as the sea, wide as the sky, truer than true. 

  
    photo by haraldna.

With food, blue is rare, exclusive, lending itself solely to a single berry. I find that a bit odd, since it colors many beautiful flowers and birds. But if there has to be only one blue food, then let it be perfect: small and round, delicious eaten raw or cooked, packed with health and nutritional benefits, and available year round. Let it be a fruit that evokes warm childhood memories and inspires exquisite poems like this one:


photo by tiny banquet committee.

BLUEBERRY
by Diane Lockward

Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.

The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M's, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.

Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.

This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes. 

~ from What Feeds Us (Wind Publications, 2006), reprinted with permission of the author.


My favorite parts: "best supporting actor in a fruit salad," and "blueberries sparkling like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky, the universe in reverse." *swoon*


photo by aspoonfulofsucre.

By now it must be obvious how much I love Diane's poetry. I've previously posted about her second book, What Feeds Us, and have mentioned her wonderful blog, Blogalicious. If you haven't visited, let me assure you it's time well spent -- she's recently started hosting virtual Poetry Salons (first one with Susan Rich), and is now offering a monthly newsletter.

 

Best of all, she's just published her third book: Temptation by Water (Wind Publications, 2010). I can't wait to devour these new poems, and hopefully feature one or two in future PF posts.

Meanwhile, will you be having blueberry pancakes this weekend? Or maybe blueberry muffins (America's favorite)? Why not don a strand of blue pearls in celebration of National Blueberry Month? 

      
         photo by {Mel}

The lovely Irene Latham is hosting Poetry Friday today at Live. Love. Explore! I'm sure she won't mind your tossing a blueberry or two into her mouth. Enjoy all the poems, and may the power of blue be with you!

*To read previous posts featuring Diane's poetry, click here.

** My favorite recipes for Blueberry Pie and Blueberry Cobbler are here.

*** For my favorite Blueberry Muffin recipe (and a little about Beatrix Potter), click here.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


Comments

(Anonymous)

tanita says ...

I just read in the Guardian that the blueberry has surpassed all other berries in sales in the UK - despite the fact that it's a berry from the Americas, the Brits are loving that blue.

Ah, the lovely universe in reverse -- blue berries on my plate. Pancakes. Bliss. What a gorgeous - yet simply - poem.

(You know they don't have pancakes here, right? They have some awful thing called flapjacks and they're ...bar cookies. Or something. It's dreadful. One has to make one's own.)

By the way: Dumpling Soup (http://theyayayas.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/asian-american-characters-and-me/) has a nice shout-out at the YAYAYA's today.

Re: tanita says ...

Blueberries are one of only three fruits native to North America. The more I learn about it, the more impressed I am :).

Zoe at Playing by the Book alerted me to the flapjack/lack of pancake thing in Britain. Kind of strange, as we tend to think pancakes are ubiquitous in the entire world.

Thanks for the DS link!
Dying to know -- what are North America's two other native fruits???

I am late to appreciate blueberries (likewise cilantro and salmon, but I'm making progress...) but now consume them pint after pint after pint. Nom.
The other two are cranberries and Concord grapes. Native Americans were extremely hip to the medicinal benefits of these berries -- just in case you're planning to give birth any time soon, blueberries are good for labor pains :).

Mmmmmm, cilantro and salmon. Better late than never. :)
I've been eating a lot of those "blue stars" lately. Yum. Yum. Yum. Great post, beautiful poem. Thank you.
I'd never thought of blueberries as "blue stars" before -- definitely love that description! Have you had any wild blueberries from Maine? Absolutely the best!!
Wild blueberries from Maine? Sounds WONDERFUL. Goes on my list of things I must taste!
Most of the berries we buy at the grocery store are cultivated highberries. Most come from NJ and Maine; during the winter we import them from Central America.

But -- there are also wild blueberries (low berries), smaller and so sweet! Maine seems to have the market cornered on those. Best blueberry pie I ever had in my entire life was made with wild Maine berries.
Oh Jama, the power of blue indeed! Love how much emotion a little blue fruit can generate. Thanks so much for sharing.
Lovely!!!
Thanks, Cindy! :)
Thanks for hosting and visiting, Irene! Have a BLUE weekend! :)