I love artichokes. Growing artichokes, eating artichokes, enjoying the magnificent bloom (like a purple sea anemone) when I fail to harvest artichokes in time,… I hold artichokes in extremely high regard. But I must admit that I’ve never, ever conceived of artichokes as sexy.
And then I read Nin Andrews’ poem, “The Artichoke“.
She starts in familiar if cleverly conveyed territory.
The first time I saw it, I thought what an ugly specimen. It looked like Grandma’s bathing cap, grown green and small after all these years. (Source: “The Artichoke” by Nin Andrews, The Paris Review)
But then she chronicles a veritable love (lust?) affair with the spiny vegetable.
I sliced it open and tasted the pale flesh. And gradually she offered herself up leaf by leaf… and she was irresistible… dipped in lemony butter, scraped carefully with teeth and sucked, the pale cream of flesh, the tender flower, her skirt held up like a cup, each sip bringing me closer to the moon, the vegetable pearl of her insides where the heart fans out fibrous hairs and waits a last mouthful on her green world. (Source: “The Artichoke” by Nin Andrews, The Paris Review)
Wow! It’s fair to say that my perception of artichokes has evolved. Dramatically. And though we’re only halfway through November, my mind is already dreaming of planting more Imperial Start Artichokes next spring…
[FYI, I excerpted some of the more salacious poetry from Nin Andrews’ poem, “The Artichoke”, but I’d strongly, strongly encourage you to read the whole poem. It’s short. And it’s thoroughly enjoyable. An artichoke will never be the same for you!]