Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25: Carrots

In my favorite book ever, "The Tale of Genji," which was written about 1,000 years ago in Heian-era Japan, the high-born characters celebrate the Iris Festival in the fifth month. A part of this festival involved an iris root contest, to see who could find the most interestingly-shaped root. They would even send love poems to each other attached to unusual iris roots. I thought of this today as I was pulling carrots at our CSA farm in Lincolnville. Our farmer had grown four different types of carrot, and one of them seemed to specialize in twisted, multi-pronged roots. After I got them all home and washed, I thought they made a poetic picture:

The weird ones at the bottom look like legs. One looks like a peace sign or a wishbone. And there's one on the upper right that has a little knob at the top, like the head of an armless doll...

If I were to write a poem on carefully chosen paper such as in "The Tale of Genji" and send it to my husband attached to one of these carrots, it would read:

This carrot's odd roots,
twinned, nourished well in rich soil,
make me think of us.

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