Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ode to an Aged Artist - Part VI

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Tomato

it’s time!

come on!

and, on

the table, at the midpoint

of summer

the tomato,

star of earth,


and fertile


displays its convolutions,

its canals,

its remarkable amplitude

and abundance,

no pit,

no husk,

no leaves or thorns,

the tomato offers its gift

of fiery color

and cool completeness.

This is a fragment from Pablo Neruda’s Ode to the Tomato.

In the painting, will people recognize this heirloom variety as a tomato or will they think it some kind of little, red pumpkin? It would seem that this is what Neruda thought a tomato looked like when he wrote about “its convolutions” and “its canals.” I haven’t got anything against a big, perfectly round beefsteak, but I swear you can’t beat the flavor of these old varieties. Besides, they are much more fun to draw.

The tomatoes from my garden have been bringing me an inordinate amount of joy this summer. I’ve been eating about two a day, usually as tomato sandwiches for lunch. Here is my recipe: I get some good, crusty bread and saw off half inch slices. I spread the bread with some honey mustard to get off on the right foot. Then, I add cottage cheese, or humus, or avocado, or all of the above. Finally, I slap on a slice or two of tomato and finish it off with a generous amount of salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Of course a few strips of crispy bacon will make this sandwich even more memorable, but then there is not much that bacon won’t improve. I’ve been known to wash this down with a mid-day beer, but ice tea is good, too.

I’m getting close to being done with the painting. I think I can add details and polish it up in another day or two.

1 comment:

  1. I never comment, but I'm always glad to see your work. and to hear your voice - thanks for sharing them, John