Nature Benign or Sinister
Nature has produced many a sinister thing
with honest answers slow in explaining.
For example, take the nightshade family
of plants renowned for their toxicity.
Even the common apple, praised for its
recommended good and healthful benefits
has its toxin, not in its flesh, but its core,
its seeds, which, if eaten to excess,
will have you wishing you had eaten less
and living many years more.
Not so well known are the rosary peas,
small, rock-hard red berries used as beads
to make religious accessories,
the most famous of which are rosaries
with which the pious robotically thumb
hail marys ad nausem, ad infinitum.
Moreover, they’re not especially edible
like cherries or other fruit comparable,
for the poison contained therein, abrin,
is one of nature’s most lethal toxins.
Closer to home, and table, is eggplant,
a favorite of Greeks and Italians, I grant.
Its flesh at one time thought poisonous –
though that belief now erroneous –
though its leaves and flowers if eaten raw
will have you rushing to the nearest ER
because eggplant, like the common potato,
as well as the pepper and tomato,
belongs to the deadly nightshade family,
an all-purpose ingredient in many
despotic Medici rulers’ cucina recipes
for confidants and friends turned enemies.
Copyright © Maurice Rigoler | Year Posted 2020
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