By Julie Leibrich
The seed for this poem was sown in several ways. First, a tomato plant popped up unexpectedly in the garden.
A few weeks later, Christine Lenk, and then Peter Creswell, brought early tomatoes for us to taste.
Next, the first fruit on my plant turned red. That unique smell of a ripe tomato on the vine reminded me so strongly of my dad, who loved growing tomatoes. That evening I served my first tomato on a plate, cut into four.
Next morning the poem arrived, telling me that it was time to start growing my own tomatoes.
A certain tradition we had. First fruit inspired it.
You carried it in and placed it on the plate.
We all stood round and silently admired it.
Mum polished it up. The room would radiate.
When we’d had our feast of sight and scent,
You’d cut it into four and pass it round.
This torrent of taste, we knew, was heaven sent
to us, through you. This somehow was profound.
You had no words to talk about your feelings.
A modest man, not given to showy acts.
The only touch of pride in all your dealings.
Your first tomato stated all the facts.
My first tomato’s redolence is true.
I’ve cut it in four. Dad, here’s a piece for you.