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xvii. Signs and Wonders - Pomegranates


Early 14c. poumgarnet, from Old French pome grenate, from Medieval Latin pomum granatum, literally ‘apple with many seeds’.


Perhaps like Eve




a ripe pomegranate

that winter afternoon

her guilty lips

stained with purple juice

she knew

exactly what she was doing

not wanting to abandon


but to spend at least six months

in heaven

on earth

gathering flowers.

Jeff Guess


The pomegranate is a very ancient fruit, mentioned in the Homeric Hymns and the Book of Exodus. The fruit is rich in symbolism and appears in early Greek myth and many religions and cultures. Pomegranates were eaten in Ancient Israel and were one of the fruits that the scouts brought to Moses to show that the ‘promised land’ was fertile. In the earliest appearance of Christ in a fourth-century floor mosaic now in the British Museum, the bust of Christ is flanked by pomegranates and they continue to be a motif often found in Christian religious decoration.

The first home I owned was Edwardian and there were some very old plants growing in the garden. On the northern side of the house, was an ancient pomegranate tree. If the fruit wasn’t harvested when ripe, the possums would always indulge in a midnight feast. In the morning the mess was actually quite attractive, the wide pathway scattered with a myriad of the spilled red seeds like tiny rubies glistening in the sun.

Reading: Song of Solomon 7:12

Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love. NIV


May it be Your Will, Hashem, our God, and the God of our forefathers, that our merits increase as the seeds of] a pomegranate.

Hebrew prayer spoken at Rosh HaShanah the Jewish New Year. Over the centuries it has become associated with many food customs, for instance, eating sweet food to symbolize the hopes for a ‘Sweet New Year.’

©Jeff Guess 2017

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