Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Water Melon Light

When Augustine was a young man, back in the 300s, he hung out with a religious group called the Manichees, who believed, among other things, that you should eat foods that contain light.
Top of their list was watermelons.

This drawing is from the visual journal I kept when I was studying Augustine. You can see I wrote, "watermelons are commonly believed to have originated in North Africa [where Augustine was from]."
Yesterday Margaret posted a poem of hers that posits a more interesting origin. Here's the first part of her poem.


I know where they're from, the green zebra mother potatoes.
We have nothing to do with them, or the cultivating of them.
They grow full in the stomach of the sea until, touched by the sun in July,
the ocean unfurls them from her skin.

They float up the fathoms, break surface with a bob,
are swept into bare human arms, rushed ashore,
carried heavily like emerald-wet elephant eggs across hot sand,
over hills (swollen giant watermelons in grass-wombs),
into towns, cities, villages, valleys: wherever there are naked feet.

--by Margaret (Marz)


femminismo said...

Totally lovely and completely believable! Your drawing is awesome!!

Margaret said...

The drawing is lovely and ancient-feeling; it makes me think of a hieroglyphic made to pass on knowledge of the Water-Melon.
And I don't know why, but the sequence of watermelon breeds:
Sugar Baby
Charleston Gray
(or Charleston Gray, Miyako, Sugar Baby)
thrills me to no end.
I want those words painted on my wall.
(Make it so.)

ArtSparker said...

Lovely meeting of visual and verse - and both unnatural histories too.

Clowncar said...

Lovely picture, lovely poem ("green zebra mother potatoes" in particular).

When I lived in Queens I'd watch ancient Asian women trudge home with alien fruits and vegetables I'd never before seen. Didn't know their flavors, their names, their scent.

Lill said...

Foods that contain light -- and it turns out they all do, though I'm willing to believe watermelon has more than most.

Love the drawing,luscious colors and words. Love Margret's poem! Like a bit of the Odyssey telling of strange and wonderful places and customs far away.

Fresca said...

I'm glad ya'll are liking this mix-and-match.
Margaret's got a wonderful elasticity of mind!

M'GET: I used to have these words from Meridel Le Sueur painted on my wall:
"The branches forgive the roots and raise the fruit."
But I like "Charleston Gray, Miyako, Sugar Baby" better--sounds like something one could cha-cha to.

SPARKY: Unnatural histories! Love that phrase.

CLOWN: You remind me, I've been meaning to buy some banana blossoms--these spaceship looking things at the Asian market.

LiLL: Good point--the Manichees had some unpleasant ideas, but they were surely right about watermelon.

bink said...

ummm.... watermelon is not only one of my favorite foods... I bathed Joop yesterday in (kid friendly) watermelon scented shampoo. Wet dog with a watermelon edge...nothing like it!

Marz said...

WTF! "green zebra mother potatoes"?! "naked feet"?! I wanted the names of watermelons painted on my wall?! Good lord, that is exactly the kind of thing I can't stand.