Friday, 4 May 2018

Do I want to live in a pomegranate or a quince?

Whenever I remove the arils from a pomegranate, I cannot help but think of the poem ‘The Pomegranate’ by Kahlil Gibran. A pomegranate filled with talking seeds.

Whenever I drop the blood red arils into a white porcelain bowl, it is normally a quiet task. With the gem-like seeds tightly packed in their white fleshy beds. I take caution not to break them. Catching wayward arils and eating them as they shoot out of the fleshy pod. Preventing them from joining others in the bowl.

I can imagine Kahlil remembering his growing up in Lebanon, with pomegranate and quince trees. He moved permanently to America at the age of 19.  His new home in Boston must have been very different from Bsharri and Beirut in Lebanon. Where he had to exchange the familiar pomegranates and quinces, for pears, apples and cherries.

Pomegranates are an amazing fruit. I can understand how the fruit can inspire artists and writers. The fruit creates a sense of wondrous beauty. Hanging like big red orbs in the orchard. The jewel-like arils are so red and their juice so sweet, that they can inspire anyone into prose.

I smile. Pondering how Kahlil takes the vision of the vibrant red arils and pictures them, as voices that do to ones ears, what the visual does to the eyes. He juxtaposes the vocal arils of the pomegranate with the more reserved pips of a quince.

I can imagine an autumn in Lebanon. Where a garden with quince and pomegranate trees, inspired a writer and author to use them as symbols of the human condition. The quince and pomegranate trees of the Towerwater garden, inspires me as well. But it is an inspiration to create beauty in food and drink with these unique fruit.

Pomegranate infused gin
Unlike Kahlil who contemplates living in the fruit, I will contemplate the flavour of the fruit living on my palate.

The Pomegranate
By Kahlil Gibran
Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed
saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in
my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be
strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”

Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I
too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things,
I see that my hopes were vain.”

And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so
great a future.”

And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without
a greater future!”

Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even
what we are.”

But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to

And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will
be, but I cannot put it into words.”

Then an eighth spoke—and a ninth—and a tenth—and then many—until
all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many

And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the
seeds are few and almost silent.

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