Sunday, February 10, 2008

48 Hours Without

Third World First Sponsored Fast 1986

I bought a bag of tangerines
for the time of breaking the fast -
they sat, glowing orange
temptation in the fruit bowl.

The first day I struggled
to remain normal, distracted
by ugly rumbles in my stomach -
signs of a deep hunger

that on the second day
gave way to dizzy light headedness,
an ability to float
above the mundane everyday.

On the forty ninth hour
I held a tangerine, its scent
spicing the air; how strangely
difficult it was to eat

to deny myself my entry
into that other existence
I had almost started
to glimpse.

Sacrifice for Read Write Poem


Anonymous said...

I hate not being able to eat when I'm starving. It's like the worst feeling ever.

anthonynorth said...

Do I see hints of approaching mysticism with this fasting?
An insightful piece.

paisley said...

i have never fasted for any reason other than selfish, (ie weight loss, cleanse) i wondered what it would feel like to be doing so with purpose,, i think now i have a better understanding... very nice....

Anonymous said...

You show a window into the heart and mind of a person on a spiritual quest. The minute details of life are magnified in the poem. A beautiful story, told with minimalist attention to the moment.

gautami tripathy said...

I fasted on Mondays for 20 years. I never felt hungry but on tuesdays I used to crave food.

Very well told.

Broken Lines

Linda Jacobs said...

Your descriptions of the tangerines is so bright and sensual. I think this is the best poem of yours that I've read!

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Fasting must be difficult without the added burden of temptation. I like the bit about the ability to float - that's really groovy guru stuff!

chicklegirl said...

When not pregnant or nursing, I usually fast once a month for religious reasons (only 24 hours at a time). It was interesting to see where your experience with fasting coincided with and diverged from my own. I loved the vividness of the tangerines; I could taste them, smell them, feel that hunger and temptation. This was really lovely, especially the ending.

Anonymous said...

Very balanced and careful poem. I have had this experience, recognised it in your poem, the difficulty in returning to eating an unwilllingness in the mouth, kind of becoming corporeal again in it, great poem really captured that experience which i had forgotten, cool,

Crafty Green Poet said...

Linda - thanks, I think its probably the best poem I've written in response to a prompt, glad you like it so much

chicklegirl - thanks, 24 hours is more sensible. Since being a student, I've never gone over 24 hours, unless I've been ill

Gautami - every Monday for 20 years, that's impressive. You must have been hugry on Tuesdays.

Anthony - mysticism or unconsciousness, depending on how you look at it

sweet talking guy - I had to have the tangerines ready though, just in case I couldn't find a shop that sold them at the end of the fast. Tangerines were aloways recommended as the best way to end a fast...

noah - it can be difficult, yes

gingatao - unwillingness in the mouth - good way of putting it

paisley, mariacristina - thanks

totomai said...

i think fasting is a choice. i used to try it but i do always fail. but as they say, everything starts with the first step. sooner or later you will be used to it. and it would be sweeter if you have achieved the purpose why in the first place, you fast. thanks for sharing this piece.

Jo said...

I've done detox fasts a couple of times and you are right, it is very hard to return to eating, the hollowness starts to feel preferable to the usual bloat. I enjoyed the poem.

Jo said...

I've done detox fasts a couple of times and you are right, it is very hard to return to eating, the hollowness starts to feel preferable to the usual bloat. I enjoyed the poem.

Dave said...

Very well done. Personally, I'm a glutton, but this jibes with what I've heard from friends who fast.

Dick said...

I've never fasted as such & it would take quite some incentive to do so after reading this vivid depiction of the effects of such a sacrifice!

UL said...

I used to fast once a week, a part of my tradition, up until three years ago, this past week I took it up again...! It was difficult, very much so..your poem does bring out all the emotions.

'soulless' said...

Talk of fasting makes me think of those who starve against their wish. I reckon the mention of 'Third World First' at the beginning has led my mind wandering onto that direction. On this track, it has also occurred to me that the "other existence" in the last stanza could refer to real-life starvation in certain real communities in Africa and in Asia. (Of course, I might be being too serious on this matter, but you get my drift. ;) Thank you for a truly engaging read. The lines "an ability to float / above the mundane everyday" strike me as special, too. This piece is definitely one of my favorites among your works.)

...deb said...

It's beautiful poetrically. I love the focus on the tangerine.

I have never been a successful fast-er; I admire those who can, especially for moral reasons. Thank you for putting this in words I can feel.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Soulless - thanks, yes the fast was one we did annually to raise money for Third World First a student organisation raising awareness of issues in developing countries.