kumquats blog: A Kumquat for John Keats by Tony Harrison

http://kumquat7.blogspot.com/2004/09/kumquat-for-john-keats-by-tony.html


For however many kumquats that I eat
I’m not sure if it’s flesh or rind that’s sweet,
and being a man of doubt at life’s mid-way
I’d offer Keats some kumquats and I’d say:

You’ll find that one part’s sweet and one part’s tart:
say where the sweetness or the sourness start.


{ Tony Harrison }

This nod to Keats reminds me of some very happy times I spent in my favorite spot in one of the open fields at my old school campus. There was a small mausoleum for dead nuns right next to an old school chapel that I used to visit, mostly because I was curious about the dead, and loved the decrepit atmosphere. And next to the mausoleum and the chapel, there was a kumquat tree that leaned over the chapel wall. In January, it would drip with fruit. The last time I ever went to visit the mausoleum was on a January day; it was my last couple of months as a high school senior. I was chewing on some chocolate pastry, then I stopped and picked a kumquat and popped it in my mouth.

The taste of kumquat always brought back that moment: the feel of uneven brick sidewalk under my feet, and the look of old walls covered with moss and old mellow brick all around me.

Back in the Philippines, the kumquat tree also has a hybrid child, a tree called Calamondin. We refer to its fruit as calamansi.

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