I thought I would work on a few posts on my writing process after all I am a blogger, emerging writer (full length book still on the way), and a poet with scattered publications. I came to the computer today wondering what I was going to post on. Would it be my kids obsession with chat features (they’ve signed me up to chat to them) or would it be something about what happened during this week (not much on that front just the flu), was there anything I was reading (not finished current books yet so as to be able to write about them). So I headed for some books on mythology. I love the pithy ones that give a plot outline without much colouration of story.
I have just read a myth about the divine origin of the mango, and realised I don’t have a single photograph of mangoes. That is something to fix in my photograph stocks. In this myth, from Thailand, there is a king who falls ill. His doctors organise all sorts of fruit juices for him (sounds like the flu doesn’t it) and none of them fix him up. He has a dream in which a ‘god’s’ voice tells him to go to the mountains of a particular town and there he will find a tree – this tree is the mother of the mango trees. However, the doctors or courtiers of the king find when they get to the tree, they cannot pick the fruit from ‘her’ because whenever they try to the tree cries like a mother. So in the end they say prayers and ask the priests to come. The tree parts with one fruit for the sick king after the prayers have been offered.
I like the structure of myths. Problem is presented, followed by possible cure, followed by complication and then resolution. For today’s writing session I was looking for such a structure, I could have gone with a poetic form as well, but my own real life flu is dictating this is not a day to attempt a sonnet, and my ballad cookpot is not on the boil and I fear my free verse will ramble too much. So instead I will reflect on this myth and what it says to me in my present stage of feeling unfit and unwell.
Somewhere there is a mother tree
crying for her lost fruit
she knows she can cure the world
but she likes to have it all
close in her branches
so she can shelter it
But if it’s there too long it will rot
and she will
have lost all that fruit
by not letting
it be eaten
Pity to let it all go to waste
She is like a real mother
keeping her children too close to home
worried they will not be able to survive
But in each core of fruit
is a new seed that will grow
another mother tree
and she must let go
Why does the prayer make her let go
why does faith say the seed will be safe
if she lets the fruit fall from her branches
today is a day for a prayer
for the mother tree
on a mountain that can
Although I am not royalty
I long for some fruit from that sacred mango mother tree.
So tomorrow I will come back to this poem and keep reworking it until I am happy with it. It may develop a metre or some pattern, but it is a beginning and there are some ideas there I’d like to work with. The real poem probably won’t be blogged as I’ll save it to send somewhere. So you’ll have to wait for it a while.
Wonder what myths there are for other fruits like apricots? I do know there are many memory stories about apricots in my childhood. Apricot childhood………… So now I definitely have some writing prompts of my own to work with.
- Image: Apricots
©June Perkins – words and image all rights reserved