Monday, May 18, 2020

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes

Lace and Mango Pickle

I walk about 

With my vulnerability
Barely covered in tentative dresses
The tremble of thick and soft but firm pink lips
Inviting remark upon its contrast
With the somewhat exaggerated horn rims
Of my all but cosmetic glasses

Perhaps you would hand me a glass of still water
At room temperature, and a cherry or a plum
I have reluctantly said no to lavender
But a pale, very pale, saffron may just about disturb the universe
To the very tiny extent that I want it to shift
To make room for my voice of sweet reasonableness
And endearing whimsy
Before it gets comfortable again
Pleased with me for making it ever so comfortably uncomfortable
That it will invite me again and again
To beautiful silky places
With delicately delicious food
And scented listeners
I must to Bruges next
For the lace
Where I shall ever so outrageously
Mention Mango pickle
In turmeric and mustard oil
Redolent of asofeotida


  1. Brugge (Bruges) is the largest city in West Vloandern province, Belgique. The city was included in the circuit of the Flemish and French cloth fairs at the beginning of the 13th century, but when the old system of fairs broke down the entrepreneurs of Bruges innovated, developing (or borrowing from Italia) new forms of merchant capitalism whereby several merchants would share the risks and profits and pool their knowledge of market. The entrepreneurs made the English and Scottish wool-producing districts into their own economic colonies. The Bourse (from the French word for "purse") opened in 1309 (probably the world's 1st stock exchange). The city's weavers and spinners were regarded as the world's best and became known in particular for their lace products. Bruges lace (Brugs Bloemwerkwas) made of cotton was in high production between 1850-1950; part (or sectional) lace is made in pieces or motifs which are then knotted together in a ground, net, or mesh, or with plaits, bars, or legs. Brugse Duchesse lace is often used in clothing and veils, while a rougher variant is used for interior decorations.

    Asafoetida is the dried latex exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of perennial herbs (Ferula foetida and Ferula assa-foetida). Its name is derived from "asa," a latinized form of the Persian "aza" (resin) and the Latin "foetidus" (smelly, fetid)." It is also known as the "food of the devils" or "devil's dung," and equivalent names can be found in most Germanic languages. In French it is known as "merde du Diable" ("Devil's shit"). The common modern name for the plant in Iran and Afghanistan, where large quantities are grown, is "badian" ("that of gas or wind", due to its use in relieving stomach gas). In the US its folk spelling and pronunciation is "asafedity." Though it was used as part of the exorcism ritual during the Renaissance in Italia, since ancient times it has been used medicinally as a digestive aid and as a condiment since the odor dissipates upon cooking; it is sometimes used to enhance flavors or to harmonize sweet, sour, salty, and spicy components, especially in Indian vegetarian cuisine.

  2. Thank you , Duane Vorhees , for posting my poem and for these colourful and enlightening footnotes


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