Ripe and succulent, plums not only add beauty to a plate of fruit but also convey a spiritual sweetness. Marie-France's "Tendres Plums de Septembre" make the eye and tongue crave this sense of mellow satisfaction. I kept thinking about their flavor and also, a certain symbolism that arose from watching a television interview with Ingrid Betancourt, the woman who was held hostage in the Colombian Jungle for over six years.

  While discussing her sub-human living conditions, she talked about the lack of fresh fruit, even the dream of tasting it. Upon her release, she resumed a normal life and frequented the produce aisles of the supermarket. She wanted to hold all sorts of fruit, taste their goodness and learn to appreciate the garden's miracle in a new way. This simple yet profound idea inspired my poem, Plums for Ingrid, along with this stunning painting.

  My verse focuses on a freed woman standing in her own garden. The foliage wet and overwhelmingly green, reminds her of the rain forest, of her captivity in the jungle. She is disturbed by the memory yet recalls how a  prayer to taste blue plums, to simply feel their sensation on her tongue, preserved her humanity. Her plea to The Virgin Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, strengthened her faith and resolve to survive with dignity and grace.

© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.