February 10, 2013

Nuts in Nutland, By Mary Meriam

Editor's note: The multi-layered format of Mary Meriam's poem, coupled with the soup-to-nuts charm of the story made this work an easy win for January's contest.


The Prince of Nut on his fine horse
Gallops to the Nutland source
Where live the mixtures of the nuts
In comfy, sweet-hay-covered huts.
“Hallo!” he cries, to wake the dead,
But wakes a maiden up instead
Who drops her heavy pot of soup
And runs out past the chicken coop
To see the Prince of Nut ride by.
Alas, this makes the Cashew cry
And fills Pecan with woe and grief.
The nuts all weep in disbelief.


The Prince of Nut is kindly, and
He wishes he could understand
How nuts of Nutland all are feeling.
Maybe he can do some healing.
“O Goddess Nut of Egypt, show
The nuts of Nutland here below
Thy wisdom and thy goddess powers,
Bring them happiness and flowers.”


“Macadamia!” she cries,
“You’re the nut that takes the prize.
Roasted golden makes your flavor
So exotic, oh we savor
You the most. Pistachio,
Greenish colored, noshers know
Your taste is naughty. With true art,
Almond sings with all her heart,
An opera star, while Walnut takes
Away bad trouble and worse aches.
Hazelnut, my friend, looks good
Wearing her crinkly hazel hood.
The Peanut tastes the most like sun,
I love her when the day is done.”


Peanut has some words to say.
“Yes, if I could, and if I may,
We nuts appreciate your praise.
My Peanut skin feels all ablaze
With blushes that are none too humble.
O dear Goddess Nut, we crumble
Neatly when we meet your mouth
From our gardens in the south.”
The long and short of Peanut’s speech
Is only that the nuts can’t reach
The maiden with the big soup pot.
“She didn’t get what others got,
The mixed nuts we are famous for
Here in the land of nuts galore.”


The Prince of Nut, who’s listening,
Each ring of emerald glistening,
Suggests to Goddess Nut, “Perhaps
America will not collapse,
Not to mention Nutland too,
If this maiden with the stew...”
(Here Peanut interrupts to say,
“Not stew, it’s soup.”) “Okay, okay,”
The Prince continues, “with the soup,
Were to receive a whole nut group,
A mixed-nut package, as it were,
Whatever nuts she might prefer.
We, the Prince of Nut, now wish
To meet the maiden with the dish.”


The Goddess beams from up above
And sows some seeds of goddess love.
Meanwhile, Maiden Soup sits weeping,
Spilled soup all around her seeping,
Nothing left for her to eat.
Plop-plop her tears fall on her feet
And also on the arid earth
That always seemed of little worth.
But now, amazingly, but true,
Flowers of lemon, rose, and blue
Appear like magic, oh so fair.
She puts the flowers in her hair.


Then the Goddess swallows whole
The sun, so evening can unroll
Her indigo and starry cloth
And trade the butterfly for moth.
The Prince of Nut, with blazing torch,
Discovers on a rickety porch,
A lovely vision, sweet and pure,
Whose flowers are of such allure
He kneels at once and lifts her up
And offers her his loving cup
(Along with endless roasted nuts).
To test the truth, the maiden shuts
Her violet eyes then opens them,
A blossom blooming on its stem.


The Goddess Nut gives birth to sun,
Another Nutland day begun,
And Maiden Soup looks fresh and new,
As if the daylight loves her too.
Cashew, Peanut, Almond shake
Macadamia awake,
Pistachio and Walnut hop
On the kitchen countertop
With Hazelnut, and mix and roast
And raise their nutshells for a toast:
Long live Nutland Prince and Maiden
With our tables fully laden!
Mary Meriam's poems are published in Literary Imagination, The New York Times, American Arts Quarterly, Poetry Northeast, American Life in Poetry, many other journals, and several anthologies. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Countess of Flatbroke and The Poet's Zodiac; a blogger at Ms. Magazine; and the editor of Lavender Review.


  1. Hilarious! And very clever too, weaving nuts in with fairy tale format and great rhymes. I'm glad I didn't have to compete with this winner!