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Poem: "Prezzemolina" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Prezzemolina"

This poem came out of the May 3, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from eseme and sponsored by marina_bonomi.  A search for "Italian folk tales" turned up the story of Prezzemolina, a variation of Rapunzel.  Of course, adding Fiorenza to the mix entails some creative problem-solving!  This poem is a terza rima, a flexible Italian form with any number of interlocking triads concluded by a couplet.  You can read the other poems about Fiorenza on the "Serial Poetry" page of my website.


Prezzemolina


When Annalisa's belly grew full round,
She craved the prezzemolo  sweet and green,
So tore it from the fairies' sacred ground.

She bore a daughter fair as had been seen,
With rosebud lips and silky raven curls,
But word was taken to the fairy queen.

Two fate  came in gowns of satin swirls
To hound fair Annalisa for her crime
And claim for their lost crop this best of girls.

Then Annalisa ran through fields of thyme
To ask the herbalist what she should do,
So Fiorenza sighed, and made the climb.

She gave the fate  parsley bales and rue,
With starts of fine French lavender and dill,
And baskets full of bread and pastries too.

The fate  all sat down and ate their fill,
Then carried off the plants and went their way,
Agreeing that the payment fit the bill.

"Next time, come to my garden, if you may,"
said Fiorenza, "for there's less to pay!"



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Current Mood: busy busy

31 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tuftears From: tuftears Date: May 4th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Fiora, so put upon! };) Every time someone shows up at her door, it's because they've got a problem.

*looks* Apparently, prezzemola is the Italian for 'parsley', I was wondering!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 4th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It's the flat Italian parsley, which is a leafy vegetable, rather different from the curly garnish variety. Heh ... you never know what bits of local color will pop up in my poems.
tuftears From: tuftears Date: May 4th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: May 4th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
The fairies in this poem were certainly more agreeable than most. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 4th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well...

Actually, one of the humans was smarter than most. The original complaint was theft, for which they wanted repayment. Fairies being fairies, they made a bid for the child. But they'd settle for replacement of the parsley, plus some other stuff for interest.

Most humans, once they've put their foot in it, don't think to bargain. Or apologize. A skilled problem-solver makes for very different stories.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: May 5th, 2011 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

I'm not so sure if most faeries from European folklore would settle for a compromise, but, yes, a much different story. :)
eseme From: eseme Date: May 5th, 2011 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah! Lovely. Just the sort of thing I was looking for. I do enjoy Flora and her ingenuity.

And yes, when you want nice herbs, go see your local herbalist!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Ah! Lovely. Just the sort of thing I was looking for. I do enjoy Flora and her ingenuity. <<

Yay! I'm happy to hear that.

>>And yes, when you want nice herbs, go see your local herbalist!<<

Annalisa has, shall we say, an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a tendency to think that a pretty face will get her whatever she wants. If she'd gone to Fiorenza when she first realized she was pregnant, she could've gotten a packet of tea and some good advice and probably avoided the worst of the cravings up front. But no, the villagers are still getting the hang of "It will be less trouble to visit the herbalist first even if she is young and kind of mouthy."

I'll bet most people don't make that mistake a second time, though.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: May 5th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes! One of the beloved tales of my childhood, that one :).
Love how Fiorenza, as usual, solves the problem with her usual practical, no-nonsense approach. I also wonder who would respond the day Fiorenza herself needs help, would Don Candido mobilize the village? Would those she has helped turn a deaf ear?

Re: prezzemola ('prezzemolo' in standard modern italian) it is, I believe, the most commonly used herb in Italian cooking from North to South (others include garlic, sage, rosmary and basil), so much so that a common saying goes 'essere come il prezzemolo' (to be like the parsley) for someone or something that comes up everywhere.
siege From: siege Date: May 5th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
They say he is like the parsley,
Come up everywhere, talked of world-wide:
A fame contagious, a joyful celebrity.

The rum looks from every hungry heart,
The greedy grasp of every rule-bender,
These are darker lights in fame.

Jealousy alone could start a war,
But where were all these liars birthed?
Under the parsley's leaves?

He sighs, stays focused on the work.
When the pot boils over, he is there
And fame burns on the stove.

It is relief, and the oven is ready.
In the casserole goes,
Dinner at seven tonight!
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: May 5th, 2011 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good take! Thank you for posting this. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

*laugh*

I love this poem! Thanks for sharing it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Oh yes! One of the beloved tales of my childhood, that one :). <<

Yay! I'm glad I came across this version, then.

>> Love how Fiorenza, as usual, solves the problem with her usual practical, no-nonsense approach.<<

Sooth. That will often work, and even if it doesn't, will take things in a different direction than the usual.

>> I also wonder who would respond the day Fiorenza herself needs help, would Don Candido mobilize the village? Would those she has helped turn a deaf ear? <<

I think it would depend on the type of challenge, who noticed it, and the timing. The earlier in chronology, the less established she is and the fewer people owe her favors. The farther the storyline goes, the more respect she builds up. I'm starting to keep an eye out for cases where people ignore her input or things otherwise go wrong. I wouldn't be surprised to see a mishap or two early on, when she has a hard time getting support; and then later it's easier to round up help when she needs it. A lot of the plot arc here really concerns finding your role in community and convincing everyone around you that yes, you really do know what you're doing and they should be working with you not against you.

>>Re: prezzemola ('prezzemolo' in standard modern italian) it is, I believe, the most commonly used herb in Italian cooking from North to South (others include garlic, sage, rosmary and basil),<<

That is so cool! Thanks for sharing.

>> so much so that a common saying goes 'essere come il prezzemolo' (to be like the parsley) for someone or something that comes up everywhere.<<

*laugh* This certainly describes Fiorenza. She always seems to be around when there's trouble brewing.

Edited at 2011-05-05 07:12 pm (UTC)
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: May 5th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

I'm definitely looking forward to more of Fiorenza's adventures and I'm really curious about the whole community, even new, just-glimpsed characters like Annalisa have a definite personality, you are building a strong cast of characters here.

>>That is so cool! Thanks for sharing.>>

My pleasure! :), anytime you have questions about everyday Italian things (or not so everyday ones) feel free to ask, I'll be happy to answer and/or do a bit of research or translation for you.

>>*laugh* This certainly describes Fiorenza. She always seems to be around when there's trouble brewing.>>
Yes, that sounds like her :)


Edited at 2011-05-05 07:57 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 8th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Oops...

It was supposed to say "prezzemolo" and not "prezzamola" in the poem. Typo fixed now. Thanks for catching this.
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