Poetry on Food

tree-615663_1920In honor of national poetry month, consider words about food, about the sometimes mystical experience of eating, consuming flavor and sensation. I find it difficult to convey the particular pleasures of a well considered meal. Maybe these poems can help.

Meditation on a Grapefruit

To wake when all is possible
before the agitations of the day
have gripped you
                    To come to the kitchen
and peel a little basketball
for breakfast
              To tear the husk
like cotton padding        a cloud of oil
misting out of its pinprick pores
clean and sharp as pepper
                             To ease
each pale pink section out of its case
so carefully       without breaking
a single pearly cell
                    To slide each piece
into a cold blue china bowl
the juice pooling       until the whole
fruit is divided from its skin
and only then to eat
                  so sweet
                            a discipline
precisely pointless       a devout
involvement of the hands and senses
a pause     a little emptiness
each year harder to live within
each year harder to live without
Source: Poetry (October 2009)

cutting greens

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and I taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.
Lucille Clifton, “cutting greens” from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd., http://www.boaeditions.org.
Source: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1980)

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