Hi everyone! We have a guest host for today’s poetics – Lisa (aka Jade) – Grace
“The question is not one of eating, nor is it one of living; the question is knowing why. In the name of the father, the son, and the chouquette, amen. I die.”
–Muriel Barbery, from Gourmet Rhapsody
Hello All. It is an honor and a privilege to be a guest host for today.
Food is my sustenance, my comfort, my hobby, and my nemesis. Having searched in every nook and cranny for the origins of my trauma, the mysteries of my fascination — some say addiction – for food is still looking for the why.
Food is a universal factor in everything that is alive, which is why it is such a rich topic to create poetry around.
Peach farmer/author/poet David Mas Masumoto writes in his exquisite, “Four Seasons in Five Senses,” about “things silent” : Dawn. Foggy mornings. Blistering midday sun. Day’s end. Nights thinking about work. First blooms. Swelling buds. Ripening peaches. Grapes hanging fat. Golden fall leaves. Old farmers working slow. Between strides as you walk. When you stop breathing after a long deep sigh. Holding your breath while a dust devil swirls around you. As a child, end of day, after a hot bath in the ofuno. Standing outside in the cool evening air. Gazing up at the stars.
One may have passion for food, an admiration for it, or a kinship with it.
Ode to the Onion, by Pablo Neruda
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
clear as a planet
round rose of water,
of the poor.
You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
Others find the taste of food compelling and irresistable.
This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Food can give us sheer joy and immortality in a moment.
From Blossoms, by Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Foods can be combined into recipes that stand the test of time and showcase a culture.
Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe, by Bill Holm
Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.
Food can also turn against us, into the realm of eating disorders.
Food is plentiful for many across the globe. For others finding enough to eat is a life-or-death struggle.
From Song of the Shirt by Thomas Hood
Oh, Men, with Sisters dear!
Oh, Men, with Mothers and Wives!
It is not linen you’re wearing out,
But human creatures’ lives!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Sewing at once with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.
But why do I talk of Death?
That Phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear its terrible shape,
It seems so like my own—
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!
Food can not only refer to physical sustenance, but spiritual and intellectual.
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Dverse poets, the prompt for the day is food. You don’t have to use the actual word food, but please write on the topic of food in one (or more) of its many aspects. Maybe on growing it? Perhaps eating it? Preparing your favorite recipe? A favorite food? Being hungry for it? Starving? Craving food for thought? A need for spiritual sustenance? Helping feed others?
– Write your poem on the topic of food.
– Post your poem on your blog and link back to this post.
– Link it up to our Mr. Linky.
– Visit other blogs. Enjoy some amazing writing. Don’t forget to comment.
About our guest host: Lisa Fox (aka Jade Li) is enjoying a laissez-faire lifestyle near the shores of Lake Michigan after twenty-five years of government work regimentation. She began writing online in newsgroups in the 1990s and has been writing in public forums and blogs ever since. Favorite pasttimes are listening to music, gardening, observing nature for advice, bicycling, spending time with her two adult sons and their partners, drinking cider with friends, enjoying being a foodie, volunteering at a cat shelter, dabbling in paper collage, and writing flash fiction and poetry. She’s a reading addict, film fanatic, and aspiring sonadora. You can find her blog at http://www.tao-talk.com