Read introduction

Written from true experience of sailing round Spain and Portugal in the 1990s.

A Vegetarian's Lament

Yacht_at_mooring_wood_blockby athena kathy25 Apr 2014

Through the reefs and the rias of nor'-western Spain
Sail two vegetarians, hunting in vain
Thro' vast tiled mercados, down hot cobbled streets,
'Midst aisles of dead fishes and fly-glistened meat
For the fruits they'd imagined would thrive on these shores
Such as dew-speckled peaches and 'fresas' to gorge.

At night, fever-toss'd, come the visions of beans -
Mange-tout, dwarf or runner, in pale tender green.
Broccoli beckons with spectral spears,
A dark curly cabbage hangs verdant and clear.
But next morning at market our dreams are cast down:
The carrots are flaccid, the onions are brown.

For proud pointed parsnips, touched by the frost,
I'd give rubies. For rhubarb I'd not count the cost.
In Promethean torment, a bright aubergine
Looms temptingly closer then fades like a dream.
Oh, where are the mushrooms all pearly and white?
Most apples are soft and the others have blight.

Tell me, where are the pineapples, mangoes, lychees?
And what can we put in our cauliflower cheese?
Yes, the olives are cheap but the lettuce is tired.
Our taste-buds are jaded, our palates unfired.
Avocadoes are missing, the raspb'ries have flown.
There's a space in the field where the leeks might have grown.

We pine for legumes, for zucchini we sob;
We are laid low with longing for corn-on-the-cob.
As the tripe glimmers softly, pigs' trotters repel.
It's a greengrocer's nightmare. A herbivore's hell!
Down in the reefs and the rias of Spain,
My conscience is clear but my diet -
So plain!