the coconut
an epic
in three movements

zoe asked me

for a coconut poem.  I wrote the first verse and she seemed  happy with that.

But then my mind wandered back to the wretched experiences of getting that gorgeous white meat out of the shell . . .

part one -

In the coconut shell is a lining of white.
It’s hard and it’s sweet, and it’s yummy to bite;
a delight to consume – any gourmet would tell
when you bite on the white in a coconut shell.

It’s a food that I love for its texture and taste,
and you know how I hate any kind of a waste.
But this thing’s like a conspiracy all by itself.
Or am I just paranoid? Judge for yourself.

For before you can get your teeth into that stuff
you must crack the nut open: That’s tough enough.
And then when you do, out spills watery milk.
It brings me to tears to see it get spilt.

So my plan is to drain out  the fluids that fill
that hairy old nut with an electric drill.
If you look at the top of your coconut shell,
you see three little soft spots – you can see them quite well.
At least they look soft, but they’re really just smooth;
so the drill bit can slip: and that all goes to prove
that the prize that’s worth winning
will surely need skill
in the strategical use of the electrical drill.

But why three spots do I see as I fiddle
about with the drill, why not two? It’s a riddle!
I want one to let air in as liquid pours out
of the other hole which will be serving as spout.

For you know, if there’s only one hole in a vessel
it won’t pour out so neat. It will glop and make messle.
For the air going up meets the stuff coming down
and they can’t get past, so they splash all around.

So I drill my two holes with the nut in my grip,
and with rock steady drill-skills – so the bit doesn’t slip.

Then the third litlle spot stares up like an eye
with a mischeivous spark, – “Are you going to be shy?”

Fast forward, and now I’ve three holes in the shell:
the two that I wanted – a spare one as well.

But now when I pour the juice into my jug
I get not one stream but two, and I feel such a mug.
For one stream goes left and the other stream right,
and neither goes straight, where I wish that it might.

So for spilt milk, it seems I must anywise weep.
Cos when all’s said and done, I spill more that I keep!

But I know that it’s pointless to cry over spillage.
What I wished for, I got, with my e-lectric drillage.
To drain was the aim of the thing I have done.
T’was a messy success – and it also was fun.

At last I can split the old coconut wide,
To get at the flesh that is hiding inside.
I’m hungry for that which I know tastes so well:
The white that is lining the coconut shell.

part two
- division

You remember the rhyme about coconut drilling;
the pouring and draining and splashing and spilling?

And my quest for the flesh all white scrumptious and new?

Now: same subject – new problem. For this is part two.

For despite all the probs, I had drained it quite well.
So next on my list was to open the shell.
But I’d rather make a neat job of the task,
and not smash the whole thing into random shaped shards.

So now I will cut through the nut with a saw
in two halves exactly at its equator.
– my hard and hairy friend, it seems;
has a mind of his own to avoid the cut of my dreams.

For how will I hold it quite firm for the op
and prevent it from rolling about the bench top?
I look at my hand and remember the rule:
Always heep body parts behind a sharp tool.

Because if your thumb is in front of the saw,
then when Murphy deploys his inscrutable law,
Expect a gash in your flesh with blood mayhem and pain.
You know fingers and thumbs do not grow again?

I have a technique I’ve perfected for fruit,
or an onion cucumber or vegetable root;
which uses a neat assymetrucal hold.
but a saw stroke is different, the thing’s determined to roll.

I don’t have a vice with an appropriate jaw,
and my bench hook just is not the right shape at all.
So I dig a small pit in the gravel outside,
and wedge the nut in with a stone either side.

Now the saw’s a bit rusty, the nut has a hard face,
and I can’t cut all the way through in this place.

If I tried that, I’d just blunt the blade in the ground.
So little by little goes around and around.

At last I’ve a saw cut for all that it’s worth,
encircling the nut ’round its equatorial girth.

Now I think if I inserrt a sharp chisel into
this little slit here, It’ll split neatly in two.

The chisel’s inserted, the hammer applied

with a swift shart tap. I feel craftsmanlike pride.

But sadly the crack that runs from the chiseltip
does not to follow the path I have carefuly cut for it.

And before I know it, the thing goes and splits
into twenty or more qutie irregular bits.
All curvy and pointy and hairy between,
and some smeared with rust where the saw blade has been.

And now I am suffering terrible gloom.
My coconut’s shattered and all round the room.

Will I ever be able to rekindle the fire,
And taste the sweet object of work and desire?

part three -

As we come to the end of this epical tale,
will I taste the good flesh or will my quest fail?

So here is the final third part of my story.
Will you weep for my loss or rejoice in my glory?

Just one thing to do now although they lie dirty,
(and now that I look – there seem more than thirty.)
So I gather and pick up the fragments of shell
and dust them all down and I wash them quite well.

The pieces are small all these miserable shards.
And the flesh is stuck tight – it seems really quite hard.
I stick a blade in the joint between shell and the white,
But it’s in danger of twisting: the angle’s not right.

For the blade it is flat and the nut it is round.
Or an even more complex-type shape I’ll be bound.
‘Cause I’m cutting along the inside of a ball.
Wherever I put the knife in, it just won’t work at all.

I cut out some pieces of flesh with the blade,
but this leaves some bits stuck to the shell, I’m afraid.
For wherever I try ‘tween the flesh and the nut,
I cannot achieve the ideal shape of the cut.

I can see that if I keep on pursuing this track
I’ll bend my knife blade in the coconut crack;
and I know from mistakes with a favourite knife
That a blade that’s bent once: it is buggered for life.

‘Til at last in frustration I lose my patience a bit,
and I stab the knife down with a vertical hit.

And as the blade sinks in the coconut meat,
A perfect small piece comes away quite complete!
“Yippee and whoopee” I scream out with pride,
“I’ve cut flesh from the nut” and my grin is so wide!

Now I cleave it- not cut it – not one little bit.
I found the ideal technique is by way of a split.

Make a long story short, I’ve now drained it and cut it.
And cleft out the meat, and I’ve shared it and loved it.

I’ve completed a journey – or rather a quest,
to free the white flesh, and to seek out the best!

Now the sun’s done his round – shines a tired peachy light,
Casting long blue-grey shadows before the calm of the night.
As I carefully store hammer and chisel away
and clean up the room at the end of the day.

As I wistfully polish the blade of my saw
and repack drill bits in their package once more,
I consider now with a satisfied sigh
the challenging moments; the climactical high!

In my coconut shell was a lining of white.
So hard and so sweet and so yummy to bite.
A delight to consume – though the job can be tough.
Take the challenge; feel proud when you get at the stuff.

ok then - that’s a wrap

how it's done . . .

a movie >

some of

my favourite linework.

I enjoy drawing hands

and sometimes they come out quite well.

footnote to mobile site . . . This note appears in a sidebar on computers.

zoe asked me

for a coconut poem.  I wrote the first verse and she seemed  happy with that.

But then my mind wandered back to the wretched experiences of getting that gorgeous white meat out of the shell . . .