Food Poem- The Poet’s Occasional Alternative by Grace Paley

As a hungryphilosopher I relate to this poem deeply. Creative work of any kind is both so difficult and so enjoyable. Sometimes I just want to be received. For me, cooking has been that easy creative connection with others. This poem by Grace Paley describes the urgent need for “responsive eatership” deliciously. Enjoy!

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead      it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft      a poem would have had some
distance to go      days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it      many friends
will say      why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems

because of unreportable
sadnesses I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership      I do not
want to wait a week      a year      a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

“The Poet’s Occasional Alternative” by Grace Paley from Begin Again. © Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.

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