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Food Poetry: Persimmons by Li-Young Lee


Published November 9, 2007 at 12:13 p.m.

I ate a Hachiya persimmon the other day and it made me think of this poem. The first time I ever tried one, I didn't know how to tell whether or not it was ripe, and the fruit had the most astringent, mouth-drying effect I've ever experienced.

Now I know to wait until the fruit feels like pudding inside of its bright orange skin, which, by the  time it is ripe, may be dotted with black.

Lee's poem is full of memories. One of them is of an American teacher who served an unripe persimmon to her class.

Due to copyright laws, I must excerpt poems and link to sites that have the full text.

Li-Young Lee

In sixth grade Mrs. Walkerslapped the back of my headand made me stand in the corner for not knowing the difference between persimmon and precision. How to choose
persimmons. This is precision.Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted. Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one

will be fragrant...

Read the whole thing on the Poetry Foundation's Website