Bell Pepper

Something has drilled a tiny hole
right above the base of the bell pepper.

I try to picture what it must’ve been like
to inhabit that green cathedral space as it expanded
& its single cloud grew ponderous with seeds.

Imagine the light & the sliding shadows of leaves
shaped like enormous beetles.

Imagine an orange sunset, in the absence of a horizon,
starting from random spots
that slowly spread across the vegetable sky,
deepening week by week into fire-engine red.

There is no heart like this, so roomy, so full of sugar.
If it is a bell, it’s much too good at absorbing
every kind of blow — or else
its tone is too high-pitched
to be heard by anything larger than the head of pin.

Written for the prompt #2 at Read Write Poem. The other responses (mostly food poems) are here.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Inventive and lovely. The idea that this fruit is a cathedral is fantastic. Nice ending, too.


  2. Wonderfully satisfying poem. “vegetable sky” brought immediately to my mind “vegetable love” — as in Marvell — “My vegetable love should grow / Vaster than empires, and more slow.” There’s more than just the verbal chime, there’s a deeper connection, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.


  3. Oh, I quite like this, Dave. Green cathedral space, ponderous with seeds, the orange sunset, no heart quite like this.


  4. Great piece of writing!! Love the “vegetable sky!”


  5. I like this! Worlds in a grain of… salad? ;-)


  6. I always love your point of view, Dave. I’m not sure if this is a weevil or a fly larva or a caterpillar, but if you scrunch yourself down that small and look through their eyes, I wonder what you would see? I wonder what it would be like to be a louse, exploring the world’s last remaining forests?


  7. Thanks, y’all! Sorry I’ve been so taciturn lately (but note the new “Blogging Without Obligation” button at the bottom of my sidebar).

    dale – I love Marvell, too.

    littlepurplecow – Welcome!

    Miguel – I wonder what it would be like to be a louse, exploring the world’s last remaining forests?
    There are definitely some “forests” I wouldn’t mind exploring in that manner… but I shan’t elaborate.


  8. Nice. I love the view inside the green cathedral, and the growing sunset.

    I started the day reading Dick Jones’ market poem – aha! He’s on the list! I read his with breakfast and yours, appropriately enough, with a dinner of roasted veggies (pepper included), rice and sausage.


  9. Cool! I’m think there might be a publishing niche there, at least for those of us in the habit of reading while eating. I know I would like to read not only more food poetry, but more food philosophy, too. To my knowledge, a good phenomenology of food preparation and consumption has yet to be written.


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