In Trouble with Nature / a. philip armbrister

Two months ago I was accosted
by a tree of hairy mangoes
had to bear the licks of delicious
aromas and succulent desires.

Suspicion of everything around me
hung in the early draft:
the cutting sweetness of sugar apple,
the toughness of mammie,

the tartness of tamarind,
thick open flesh of avocado,
the dodge of the dilly, the long
slender sharpness of bananas,

confronted me all at once
sent my senses into a tail spin.
This was the delirium that arrested
me at the edge of nature.

The line up of colours shifted
from barely to completely
in a face to face encounter
with a myriad of green.

Cunning cassavas hid quietly
beneath the earth with
potato slips, like ground cover,
all around them.

These were the tastes that
assaulted me that morning and I
like a bruised vagrant, sat
and longed for it.

•••

is an Assistant Professor at The College of The Bahamas, and a Fulbright Scholar with research interests in sustainable development and Haitian Creole studies. Poetry is comforting, revealing and therapeutic. He uses it to express his creativity as it is revealed to him through people, objects, events, memory and imagination.

16 comments

  1. Reply

    A bruised vagrant indeed! I hope Althea Romeo-Mark, our fellow-poet, professor friend, born in Antigua, residing at present in Switzerland, stumbles upon this. I know she’d be as delighted to read it as I was or more so, cuz I know she must, right about now, be yearning for a taste and for the smell of the Caribbean. How delicious your poem is, Philip.

  2. Reply

    The poem makes me crazy with homesickness. Many of these fruit can be bought here in Switzerland, but they have no smells that take me home to the islands. Once I found mangoes that smelled like real mangoes and I had to buy some. They cost me dearly but I had to have them.

    I assume you were in the countryside. Can’t believe you only sat and longed for it. Was it private property? And you are a law-abiding citizen.

  3. Reply

    So many wonderful, delicate fruits, and the only thing bruised is the vagrant. Beautiful poem, Philip.

  4. Reply

    A mouth watering poem indeed! Private property or not, I would have plead innocent when the police came (if they could have made it on time to catch me).

  5. Reply

    Drawn in by the first line. Created a picture that every Bahamian could appreciate.

  6. Reply

    this is some great stuff, one of phil best so far keep up the good work.

  7. Reply

    very refreshing poem! the first paragraph took me in quick had me reminiscing back to when i was younger, when i use to go Andros for the summer,me and my cousins use to sit in the mango tree an eat mango and talk all day… I’m that i took my time to read it.

  8. Reply

    Ahhh! A such vivid account – made me remember this summer, I made a point to enjoy native fruits.

  9. Reply

    Oh our rich Bahama land…. the caribbean is so bless with riches beyond words, nice entry Mr. A

  10. Reply

    Comments From What Today is a very Windy Day in Wonderful Denver, Colorado.

    I tell you Phillip the cultural markers you so lyrically put together never fail to transport me back in time to West End (Crazy Corner)….Going back in the pond to our favorite dilly tree or grabbing a sugar apple off the tree just outside our room window. The ability to bring these memories back in a real way is truly a special treat especially on a cold, windy, partly cloudy day like the one we have today in Denver.

    Those fantastic Bahamian fruits of my childhood are very far out of reach here in the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado but the memories they conjure up is delicious all the same.

    Keep them coming…Your Big Brother in Denver

  11. Reply

    Truly a tantalizing and sensory provoking poem. Ur use of imagery and metaphors captures the aromatic ambiance of a bountiful garden.

    I love it!!!

  12. Reply

    I like the poem. It make me feel hungry lol! The poem was a good play on words which excited my senses of taste and smell. A good poem.

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