This summer, I’ve had the chance to do some “lightning poetry” on the streets of Elkhart. During the July ArtWalk, I was given a strategic spot on Main Street, from which I would accost passers-by and ask if they had one minute to listen to a poem. If they said yes, I gave them a choice: silly or serious, and would then select a poem for them from one of two folders, based on that preference. It was amazing to see people’s reactions. Some ignored me, or even told me to leave them alone – made me feel like a street evangelist, which I sort of was, I suppose. But others were delighted to be approached and listened/responded with enthusiasm. The highlight for me was the two burly biker dudes who asked for a serious poem and then engaged me in conversation about the meaning of life. Priceless.
Anyway, the most popular poem of the day was a silly one that re-tells the Cinderella story using vegetables. Here it is – imagine you’re on a street corner as I read it to you…
Cinderella was a Brussels sprout
the kind of snack you only think about
occasionally, like when the cupboard’s bare
or Christmas guests appear from who-knows-where
and you are caught short-handed.
Her sisters were the prize zucchinis,
tightly stuffed in mink bikinis
tanning on the castle lawn
while Cinders worked till dusk from dawn
doing the jobs that she was handed.
But then Prince Charming, that great star fruit, paid a call
and planted the idea of a ball.
The bully-girls thought they’d be most appealing
They had no idea they’d be dealing
with their sister, who, to be candid,
was more delicious to the eye
than they. They were left alone to cry
like onions when she stole the prince and left a clue
at midnight – with a single crystal shoe
the heart-sore lover-boy was handed.
The story ends, as all good meals do,
With sweetness to top off this most romantic stew.
Our heroine delicious, ripe and pure
Outlasted both her sisters, rotten to the core
At least, that’s how I’m told this fruit-and-veggie fairy tale ended…