Hello, and welcome to dVerse, serving hot and cold poetry, drinks and – tonight – a full menu!
We’ve emerged from the solstice festive period, and I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks thinking about food – what to cook, what to serve, what to choose, what to avoid! And the emotions that come with it – my mum’s trifle, my mother-in-law’s pudding recipe, my husband’s bread, After Eight mints – these things are part of my history AND part of my present. They are the things I think about when I think about winter celebrations, along with all sorts of other important dishes.
Eating and drinking together are such an important part of celebrating, of being friends, family, community. Over the last two years I have really missed juggling a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine; I’ve missed our pre-Christmas pub lunch with friends; I’ve missed the village hall bring and share – that mad mixture of home-made pasties, shop-bought fancy cakes, crisps and egg sandwiches. Food brings us together like nothing else quite does. It also evokes memories like nothing else. Nobody will ever make pastry quite like my granny. My husband uses his mother’s pudding recipe at Christmas, and for a moment she’s sitting there with us, criticizing her own cooking (completely unnecessarily).
Here’s a poem by Seamus Heaney. Look how he conjures up the simplicity and significance of an every day task:
Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
For Mary Heaney
There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall
of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove
sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.
Now she dusts the board
with a goose’s wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails
and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.
And here is love
like a tinsmith’s scoop,
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.
And here’s a prose poem by Amy Lovell:
In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and white. It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and smells, and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side, draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot, hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl and my eyes begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts. Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask. A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream, flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee steam rises in a stream, clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight, revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the coffee steam. The day is new and fair with good smells in the air.
If you want more inspiration, there are links here to two poems that I’ve featured on my blog over the last couple of years
So, your mission for tonight is to write a poem about food – about preparing food, or eating food; about family meals, or posh restaurants; about the emotional heft of a particular dish, the meaning that it brings to your table; about something you love or something you loathe. Maybe your dad always made eggs a certain way, maybe there’s a sauce that reminds you of a lost love, maybe the smell of something takes you back to childhood. Unpack it a little, and share it with us. Maybe we can create a recipe book of memories and associations?
When you’ve written your poem, please link it back to this post AND link it up to Mr Linky. And don’t forget to browse the buffet of poems from your fellow poets.
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Hello and welcome! Tonight we host a pop-up restaurant, with a menu designed by you!
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Hi Sarah! What a wonderful, warm write up. I love the prompt. But I write so much about food, I don’t know if I can come up with something new. Let me sleep over it, maybe inspiration will strike. 😀
Or you could cheat…I won’t tell.
Haha! We’ll wait till the morning. 😉
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I thought about if I should write about cooking that I do a lot, but decided to write about eating instead… eating a lot.
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Hello Sarah and All. Fun prompt that I enjoyed writing a poem for. Both cats are curled, asleep on the couch; the sun’s light, growing stronger each day, is shining; and the near-zero wind continues to gust outside. A hot mug of tea and a nutritious morning glory muffin in the afternoon would be perfect, please.
Coming right up. Macaroni cheese on the side?
Thanks, Sarah, will pass on the m&c.
Thanks, Sarah. I love the Seamus Heaney poem. So lovingly detailed and softly rendered.
He’s such a wonderful poet – quiet, understated, but so poweful. That’s one of my favourite of his poems – it makes me think of my own grandmother.
Thanks so much for sharing it. Really beautiful.
This prompt brings up a lot of possibility for me. Some of it’s heavy. Looking forward to seeing what will happen and to reading other poems. 🙂
What a fantastic prompt this is, thank you so much for hosting, Sarah 😀 Happy Tuesday!
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Rob Kistner said:
Hi Sarah! Love this prompt, and thank you for hosting. I’m in a naughty mood, so my hunger is of a different nature. I will endeavor, as always, to be tasteful.
I’ve been warned…
Barbara S said:
mmh – that I can’t claim
Rob Kistner said:
Wanna to share an oldie too. “Ontario Breakfast”. First posted last year in a semi-draft stage. Some saw the early draft from last year. It is fully finished now,
A beautiful evening again, some wonderful poetry, thank you so much…
late again sorry,
great prompt. will do some catch up reading when i can
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Lovely prompt Sarah. Cooking often reminds me of my Mum – standing there in front of a little pull down flap that was her only work surface when I was a child and all the wonderful cakes and puddings she baked. So I’ll have a late slice of lemon meringue pie please if you have it! x
Both of us can't look good...it's either me or the house said:
I love macaroni and cheese and though our weather is exceedingly warm I shall still enjoy it. After one or two shorter poems I got into a little story telling today. I’ll bring some ham (and trifle) to the table. Enjoy my ham all.
And being that it was morning her e in Western Australia I just had to have a slice for morning tea. Thank you Sarah, enjoyed the prompt.
Hi Sarah and all,
This is a lovely prompt and I enjoyed writing to it. Thank you. 🙂
Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing said:
Lovely prompt! 💕☺️
A little late, but I’m here!
Thank you for this mouth-watering prompt!
I am late too and add one I had written a while back but it’s one of my favorites (the poem and dish). Did I make it in before last call? Thanks for this inspiration Sarah! I may have to go back and write a 2nd helping….
The poems you’ve chosen for examples are lovely, Sarah. Hard to live up to. Thanks for acquainting us with both of them.