Eggplant Poems

I first grew a Solanum melongena about 10 years ago and discovered true bliss. Eggplants are truly one of the most perfect and satisfying vegetable to grow. From their graceful arching branches and leaves, to the delicate lilac blossoms that suddenly sprout a dark purple nugget. Each little nugget grows slowly bulbous, glistening, pendulous, dark and shiny with promise.

Eggplants early March

Last night I picked our first eggplant for the season.

The plant has been growing near our back door since October and I had dispaired of success. So many blossoms and so much rain to wash them away again.But finally, last month, a nugget appeared under two of the blossoms.

I have been daily delighted by their grace and beauty. I secretly caress their shiny, smooth skins. I dream of moussaka and baba ganoush. Eggplants are the poetry of the vegetable world. Naturally, I am not the first one to think this thought though.

Eggplant Love | Linda O’Connell | 2008

You glossy beauty
of ample

A most desirable
speciman on this

The eggplant,

The stud lover
of my

Deep purple
velvet, lustrous

Glistening, I desire
the shape you’re

You’re edible and gorgeous
all eight inches

From my window I watch
can this be so

you enter my mouth
and my lips they

Voluptuous curves
with all the right

The salt on your skin
makes you profusely

Don’t worry my lover
I’m now dripping

Eggplant early April

The Eggplant Epithalamion from Half-Lives | Erica Jong | 1973

“Mostly you eat eggplant at least once a day,” she explained. “A Turk won’t marry a woman unless she can cook eggplant at least a hundred ways.”
-Archaeologist Iris Love, speaking of the cuisine on digs in Turkey. The New York Times, February 4, 1971
There are more than a hundred Turkish poems
about eggplant.
I would like to give you all of them.
If you scoop out every seed,
you can read me backward
like an Arabic book.
(Lament in Aubergine)
Oh aubergine,
& as shiny as if freshly laid-
You are a melancholy fruit.
Solanum Melongena.
Every animal is sad
after eggplant.


(Byzantine Eggplant Fable)
Once upon a time on the coast of Turkey
there live a woman who could cook eggplant 99 ways.
She could slice eggplant thin as paper.
She could write poems on it & batter-fry it.
She could bake eggplant & broil it.
She could even roll the seeds in banana-
flavored cigarette papers
& get her husband high on eggplant.
But he was not pleased.
He went to her father & demanded his bride-price back.
He said he’d been cheated.
He wanted back two goats, twelve chickens
& a camel as reparation.
His wife wept & wept.
Her father raved.
The next day she gave birth to an eggplant.
It was premature & green
& she had to sit on it for days
before it hatched.
“This is my hundredth eggplant recipe,” she screamed.
“I hope you’re satisfied!”
(Thank Allah that the eggplant was a boy.)
(Love & the Eggplant)
On the warm coast of Turkey, Miss Love
eats eggplant
“at least once a day.”
How fitting that love should eat eggplant,
That most aphrodisiac fruit.
Fruit of the womb
Of Asia Minor,
reminiscent of eggs,
of Istanbul’s deep purple nights
& the Byzantine eyes of Christ.
I remember the borders of egg & dart
fencing us off from the flowers & fruit
of antiquity.
I remember the egg & the tongue
probing the lost scrolls of love.
I remember the ancient faces
of Aphrodite
hidden by dust
in the labyrinth under
the British Museum
to be finally found by Miss Love
right there
near Great Russell Square.
I think of the hundreds of poems of the eggplant
& my friends who have fallen in love
over an eggplant,
who have opened the eggplant together,
who have swum in its seeds,
who have clung in the egg of the eggplant
& have rocked to sleep
in love’s dark purple boat.
Ready to eat!

5 thoughts on “Eggplant Poems

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