Food for Thought: Like watermelon for angels


“When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.”
—Mark Twain, American author of Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1835 – 1910)
What Angels Eat is Red Juicy and Sweet
Well, there is soft delicious Angel Food sponge cake
I’ve often wondered if any heavenly creatures eat it
this confectionary delicacy is somewhat tricky to bake
I also wonder whether heaven’s angels actually need it.

There is chocolate Devil’s Food cake a delightful treat
a deep dark cocoa dessert pastry with a delicious smell
with chocolate frosting chocolate ice cream a must repeat
tempting fallen angels in a semi-sweet dark chocolate hell.

Finally, a heavenly fruit perfect for every earthly dwelling
and all the devilish boys and angelic girls spit out its seeds
watermelon fields, farmer’s markets, grocery stores selling
a medium size watermelon will fit a small family’s needs.

Watermelon is sandia in Spanish, chandia in Chamorro
angels and devils want it yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

National Watermelon Day is Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Here is a poem I wrote several years ago and translations of it into various languages spoken here in the CNMI and elsewhere around the world. Readers may enjoy discerning the variety, difference, and similarities among the languages. Vive la Difference! Please enjoy some watermelon.
When Ripe Watermelon

When ripe watermelon bursts its rind
and juicy red flesh can be seen
all the fruits of summer come to mind
and watermelon is the queen
the crowning glory of every picnic
just what every BBQ needs
thump for ripeness to get the right pick
have fun spitting out all the seeds.
Cuando La Sandia Madura (Spanish)
Cuando la sandía madura revienta su cáscara
y jugosa carne roja se puede ver
todos los frutos del verano vienen a la mente
y la sandía es la reina
la gloria suprema de cada picnic
justo lo que necesita cada barbacoa
golpe de madurež para obtener la elección correcta
diviérte escupiendo todos las semillas.

Spanish translation by Carol Fernandez who lives in Washington, D.C.
An Masa I Chandia (Chamorro)
Anai pakpak i lassas
ya sina un líé i chugó yan sensin agagá
ayu na un hasso todo i man mange na fruta siha
lao i chandia i raraina
este i mas ma guaiya espesiatmente para i famagúon
kada man manu nu man nisisita i chandia
ma dakut i chandia  ni para u tungu na masa
ya un luga i pipitasnaū.
Chamorro translation by Carmen C., a resident of Tinian.
Kapag Hinog Ang Pakwan (Tagalog)
Kapag sumabog na ang balat ng hinog na pakwan
At kita na ang pula at makatas nitong laman
Naaalala lahat ang mga prutas tuwing tag-init
At ang pakwan ang syang reyna.
Ang namamayagpag sa bawat piknik,
Nararapat sa bawat barbekyu,
Katukin ang balat para malaman kung hinog na
Masayang idura ang lahat ng mga buto.
Translated by J. Vallejera. Translator’s note: I don’t think there is a literal translation of the word “picnic” or “barbecue” in Tagalog so, like the Japanese, Filipinos tend to transliterate many English terms.
Kun Hinog It Pakwan (Waray)
Kun nagbuto na it anit hit pakwan
Ngan nakikit-an na it maduga ngan pula nga unod
Nanunumduman it tanan nga prutas hit tagsirak
Ngan it pakwan it rayna.
Asya it sikat ha kada pagtarampo.
Asya it kinahanglan kada may barbekyu
Tuktuki agud mabaru-an kun hinog nga asya an napili
Pagrisyo pagtupra hit mga liso.
The translator, J. Vallejera, is a native speaker of Waray, the fifth most spoken language in the Philippines. Translator’s note: You can use the term pagka-urusa or pagtarampo which means “get-together” or “unity.”

Lupan Sania A Mau (Mortlockese)
Lupan sania a mau, kilen a sawala
massawan lon en mi par me pukilen 
a pwa weuu usun sa pwal anshaanei fansoun le rek 
sania I finesamolun finesamolun fan soun 
appwesh pwe e kai no lon
fansoun appwesh le rekk
fansoun oshosh nge mattiuou
pukkilen me le awash 
Mortlockese translation by Sapuro Rayphand who lives on Saipan. He was born on Lukono (Likinioch) atoll in the State of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.
Wenn Reife Wassermelone (German)
Wenn reife Wassermelone ihre Rinde sprengt
Saftiges rotes Fleisch dabei zeigend
Kommen alle Früchte des Sommers in den Sinn
Unter ihnen ist Wassermelone Königin
Die krönende Herrlichkeit eines jeden Picknicks
Die notwendige Bedingung Das von Grillfesten
Schlage die Hülle für Reifheit und richtige Wahl
Genieße es, die Samen zu spucken.
Quand Pastèque Mûre (French)
Quand pastèque mûre fait éclater sa croûte
et pulpe fondante et rouge se montre
tous fruits d’été vont à l’esprit
dont pastèque est la reine
la gloire couronnant de chaque pique-nique
ce qu’il faut pour tous barbecue
frappe pour savoir s’elle soit mûre et bonne
t’amuse en crachant ses graines.
German and French translations by Dr. Colin G. King, my first adopted son, who lived here on Tinian during middle school, now a philosophy professor in Basel, Switzerland.

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