friday feast: death by summer strawberries

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” ~ Al Bernstein

Hello there, Cutie Pies.

Happy June! We’re kicking off the summer with some sweet strawberry love.

There’s nothing more beautiful or tempting than a bowl of juicy, fragrant berries. You do like them, don’t you? Strawberry lovers are considered, “health conscious,  fun-loving, intelligent and happy.” Non-lovers = “weird, boring, stuffy — picky eaters who avoid healthy foods.” No, that couldn’t be you.

Love the deep red color and all those tiny seeds — did you know each is actually an ovary and considered a separate fruit?

Last weekend, the mustached one and I braved the heat and humidity to check out the Strawberry Festival in Delaplane, Virginia. What’s a little weird is that Delaplane isn’t in a big strawberry-producing area — they have to import strawberries from California to feed the estimated 10,000 people who attend. I guess if you’re busy going on hayrides, playing field games, listening to music, watching puppet shows, browsing craft tables, checking out the peanut roasting machine and petting farm animals, you can work up a big appetite.

No shortage of strawberry sundaes or strawberry shortcake or strawberry jams. I’m thinking death by strawberry (second only to death by chocolate, of course), wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Or would it? Atlanta-based poet Diana Anhalt has something to say about that.

This one’s for you!

Diana: I was at a dinner party in Mexico City — where I lived for many years — sitting at the end of a very long table — about 18 people — when I heard someone say, “Una fresa la mató,” i.e., “A strawberry killed her.” I quickly made my way to the other end of the table to eavesdrop. Apparently, an allergy to strawberries can be fatal. Nope. I didn’t know her.”

Death by Strawberry
by Diana Anhalt

The color red can kill you,
something in the pigment,
but I’d prefer being done in by strawberries–
a quality fruit — than by tomatoes
or, God forbid, a jelly roll.

I see myself plunging my hand into a tin bucket,
seizing a strawberry by the stem,
and dangling it above my mouth,
juice sticky on my fingertips like blood,
and sinking my teeth into perfumed flesh:
The cold explodes on my palate like a scream,
stings my lips,
crinkles my tongue,
stains my teeth.
My throat closes around it.
I swallow the sun.

Yes, a red death I can believe in. But to go tamely,
my executioner the color gray, for example.
That would be inconceivable.

Posted by permission, copyright © 2012 Diana Anhalt. All rights reserved.*

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Tasty poem, no? Ah, the fruit of love — intense, passionate, worth dying for. It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Maybe you’d better have a few more.

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Carol at Carol’s Corner is hosting this week’s Roundup. Please take her a pint or two of strawberries and check out all the mouthwatering poems being served up in the blogosphere. Ooh-la-la, I’ll be hosting Poetry Friday next week!

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* “Death by Strawberry” was previously published in Haz Mat (Volume 5 Issue 1), in Daybreak (March 1999), and can also be found online at Your Daily Poem.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

41 thoughts on “friday feast: death by summer strawberries

  1. Do you know, I could almost SMELL the strawberries when reading this post?

    That poem reminds me most vividly of The Princess Bride – because she used the word “inconceivable,” and it’s death by eating, which, of course, was supposed to happen to Westley.

    Humperdinck: First things first, to the death.
    Westley: No. To the pain.
    Humperdinck: I don’t think I’m quite familiar with that phrase.

    More reason to love it.
    Ah, strawberries. My friend Elle also just made a pie… yum.

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    1. Oh, I haven’t read The Princess Bride. That sounds cool! I’m thinking of using “inconceivable” more often from now on🙂 .

      Elle’s cake recipe is just what I was looking for. Thanks!

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  2. My husband and I often visited his aunt & uncle in Missouri in June, their strawberry time, & his aunt made the most delicious strawberry pie, with a kind of custard in it too. Yum! Strawberries always make me think of that. These pictures made me want to run right out to the grocery, Jama, perhaps for strawberry jam fixings? I know that some are allergic, it’s tragic, but happily I am not. The poem is wonderful. I love “I swallow the sun.” Thanks!

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    1. I’m glad I’m not allergic, too. Len grew strawberries at our old house and I always made a nice pie or two with them. So good — and strawberry cobblecake. Strawberries are a wonderful excuse for eating whipped cream, too🙂. Hope you make some jam!

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  3. Thank you both for this most delicious poem and all the sticky sweet strawberry-ness today. (Just made my son a strawberry smoothie this morning.)

    Jama, though I usually much prefer books to their movies, you simply MUST round up/rent/download The Princess Bride movie (1987). On my hubby’s side of the family, we can all pretty much quote every line. See, we need to live closer to have a little movie-fest…!

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    1. Love strawberry smoothies!

      Okay, I’ll heed both your and Tanita’s recommendations to get in on the Princess Bride love.🙂

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  4. I love the poem — it makes me think of strawberries as a means of swallowing joy. Jama, I’m inspired to check the picking schedule of our local “pick-your-own” farm to see if strawberries are still on the menu.

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  5. I picked a double handful of strawberries out of our garden for the first time yesterday. Delicious! Which reminds me – I should see what has ripened since then, before we get another soaking rain to rot them.

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  6. Oh my lord, that poem makes me want to run out and raid the strawberry aisle at our local Whole Foods. What a joy to learn that you were at the Strawberry Festival! We used to go there every year when we lived in Maryland…I have such wonderful pictures of my three kids as very little ones enjoying the festivities there, Jama! Thanks for bringing back all those memories!

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    1. Didn’t realize you once lived in Maryland. It was very hot the day we went so the ice cream sundaes really hit the spot🙂. Liked the miniature horses and piglets and the peanut roasting machine.

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  7. I could smell those strawberries, too!

    This has been a fruit-fest of a Poetry Friday — so far Strawberries, Peaches, and a Nectarine! ‘Tis the season of YUM!!!

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  8. I could TASTE those delicious strawberries. =) What a beautiful post, Jama. As always. I enjoyed this very much because: 1) June is my birthday month; 2) I am a strawberry kind of girl (I ignore all ‘berries’ except strawberry!); and 3) it was a really good poem you shared. Death by strawberries almost feels like heaven. Thanks for sharing!! =)

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    1. I agree. I lovelovelove strawberries too. Sometimes, I only have strawberries (dipped in nutella) for my dinner. That’s how much I love it.🙂 Dessert as full-course-meal.

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    2. Oh hello, Strawberry Girl, and Happy Birthday! Glad you liked the poem. I hope you have a strawberry cake for your birthday.🙂

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    1. Oh, Lisa, those Hood strawberries are absolutely, mouthwateringly out-of-this-world to die for — the epitome of what the poem is about! Red and ripe all the way through. Such sweetness! You are so lucky to be able to get them.🙂

      I am mad for Hood cherries, so can only imagine how good Hood strawberries are.

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  9. Jama, you and I are sharing the fruity love, aren’t we? I am putting “strawberry festival” on my bucket list. And I agree with the poem wholeheartedly! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. There’s nothing better than picking strawberries at a farm — it’s the smell that makes it amazing! Warm, fresh strawberries as far as the eye can see! I have been wanting to do that this year, but no time. We grew three berries on a potted strawberry plant here. They were good, but still. Only three.

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  11. Another gorgeous post — the strawberries are to die for! (Probably eighteen other people already said that – I haven’t read the other comments. :-))

    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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  12. My grandfather loved strawberries. His favourite was strawberry shortcake, about which he always said, “It’s called strawberry shortcake because it’s short on strawberries.” And laughed at his own joke every time.

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  13. Love all those beautiful strawberries. Looks like a great festival! Signs have been up in my town for our annual festival, can’t wait! I have one little pot of strawberries that comes back every year. Not a lot but a very delicious few!

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  14. Wow!! Those are great photos!! Lots of bold colors! We have a strawberry festival near where I live. It’s great to have them grown so close since we LOVE them.Guess that means I’m health conscious, fun-loving, intelligent and a happy person (maybe not so much of the health conscious part…darn pizza and chocolate!). Love that poem!

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    1. Yay, another strawberry lover! Chocolate has been proven to have many health benefits — so don’t chalk it up to the unhealthy list🙂. And pizzas can be healthy — think veggie, low-fat cheese, whole wheat crust . . .

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  15. I can never leave this place without my mouth watering! And I adore strawberries. I can sure think of worse ways to die. We have a thriving industry of them around here, but it’s at the end of June-ish (and will be later this year if it doesn’t warm up soon). May I share a strawberry poem with you, written from the strawberry’s POV. It’s linked in my signature…

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