Mango Mother – Poem/Story in Process

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

cure me

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


13 thoughts on “Mango Mother – Poem/Story in Process

  1. May the mango be yours–Apricot hedges are common where I lived in BC–how I would love to taste again wild strawberries in the wood. Fran

  2. I like the idea of a mother of fruit tree, what about a mother of poems tree? And of course all the similarities with human mothers and their children – so hard to let go and sometimes it’s the only thing you can do…

  3. I like the way you read the myth and then relate it what you are going through. I love mangoes too. I think there may be many myths about apples – apart from the obvious Adam and Eve story I think there are others from the Greek tradition.

  4. Yes, apples there are so many, that’s why I went for another fruit, plus its one that is around in my environment a lot Almurta (: I did a fruit survey on my facebook and found out people’s faves so I may explore that. I love your suggestions Kezza, I’ll have to give you a feedback credit when I pulish… you will love mangoes Vi, they are delicious, fresh ones best, tinned ones a bit sweet in comparison to the real ones, like the different between fresh pineapple and tinned pineapple.

  5. Yum! I have thought many times that a mango would make me feel better. I, too, had an apricot childhood. We were surrounded by orchards and I started my first job at the ripe ole age of four years old cutting apricots for drying. There are some sweet and not so sweet memories.

  6. We had peaches and blackberries as well (: my brothers used to collect them and bring them back for a neighbour to make blackberry pie.

  7. There is a fabulous book about writing and fruit, I must try remember the title and review it, I hope I have written it down somewhere= there is always google.

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