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Poem: "Fagioli del Papa" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Fagioli del Papa"

This poem came out of the January 22, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from rhodielady_47 and the_vulture.  It has been sponsored by the_vulture.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman.  It is a sequel to "The Godfather" and will make more sense if you read that one first.  You can read more about fagioli del Papa  and tassel hyacinths online.

Fagioli del Papa

One spring day, Fiorenza and Don Candido
were working together in the parish garden.
The tassel hyacinths that she had transplanted
from the forest were ready to divide
so that some of the bulbs could be pickled.
Don Candido was preparing the ground for beans.

"You told me once why you were sent so young
to take charge of a village," Fiorenza said,
"but do you know why they gave you
this  village in particular?"

"Oh yes," Don Candido said.
"This is a village where things happen.
There is a story told in Rome about a man from here
who saved the life of a traveling stranger.
That stranger later became the Pope,
and as a reward he gave the man some beans
with a flavor as rich as meat."

"Fagioli del Papa,"  said Fiorenza, nodding.
"They are very tasty beans indeed.
Most people from the village grow them."

"When I studied religion in Rome,"
Don Candido went on, "I met a Cardinal
who had come from this village years ago.
One winter he fell ill.  My godfather, Death,
said that it was not his time and sent me
to find a particular physician to cure him.
So the Cardinal assigned me to Nocciolaia
when it came time to give me a church,
and asked that I watch over his people."

Fiorenza covered her hyacinth bulbs with a cloth
and patted down the dirt in the flowerbed.
"Are there so many priests with gifts like yours,"
she said, "that the Church can spare one
for such a little village as this?"

Don Candido smiled.  "Not so very many,"
he said, "though more than one or two.
It is not the size of the village that matters
but its history, Fiorenza.  Think of the tales
handed down in your own family."

Fiorenza thought about that,
in particular the glass garden house
that had been a gift from a grateful Duke.
"Yes," she said, "interesting things
do seem to happen to people from this village."

"The Cardinal taught me many things,"
Don Candido said.  "One of them is that
the Pope considers the people
he has to send out into the world,
and speaks to his bishops saying,
'That place is dear to me; send your best there.'
They plant each of us in just the right place
where we will be needed, the way
the Pope once handed out these beans.
So here they are, and here I am,
and hopefully between us,
people's bellies and souls will be well fed."

Fiorenza laughed, then, and said,
"Very well.  I am done digging hyacinths.
Move over and I shall help you plant more beans."

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2 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: August 8th, 2013 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Today I have learnt *two* things... one, the meaning of one of my favourite Italian starters, pasta e fagoili... 'course, done right, the soup is a lot more than *just* pasta and beans :) The other is of the bean you mention above, which in English is called the Christmas bean. (Can't figure out why it's called that, but it's popular in the Desert Southwest, where it grows like crazy even in the extreme heat.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 31st, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)


I love introducing people to new things.
2 comments or Leave a comment