Yoga Poem – Lucky by Luis Jenkins

Here is a beautiful poem about gratitude for you —

All my life I’ve been lucky. Not that I made money,
or had a beautiful house or cars. But lucky to have
had good friends, a wife who loves me, and a good
son. Lucky that war and famine or disease did not
come to my doorstep. Lucky that all the wrong
turns I made, even if they did turn out well, at least
were not complete disasters. I still have some of my
original teeth. All that could change, I know, in the
wink of an eye. And what an eye it is, bright blue
contrasting with her dark skin and black hair. And
oh, what long eyelashes! She turns and with a slight
smile gives me a long slow wink, a wink that says,
“Come on over here, you lucky boy.”

“Lucky” by Louis Jenkins from In the Sun Out of the Wind. © Will o’ the Wisp Books, 2017.

From the Writer’s Almanac at  http://writersalmanac.org/

Happy Birthday Refrigerator

We thought our refrigerator was getting old. It was humming, sweating and not cooling enough. One day my husband reached under and realized the filter hadn’t been cleaned perhaps…..ever! Once the thick collection of fuzzies was removed, our old fridge was vindicated and fine. It just needed some love and attention, and cleaning.

Thank you dear refrigerator for holding vegetables to be cooked, various condiments to lather over salads and fries, drinks of all sizes and flavors to soothe thristy kids, and oh so precious left-overs. Because of you, I dont have to go to the grocery store everyday, because of you I have a ready supply of frozen vegetables and ice-cream, because of you I just had a blueberry smoothie blended with orange juice and yoghurt. It was refreshing.

Although you are wonderful, you are not blameless. Sometimes, things sit and rot in the bins, sometimes left-overs are forgotten, sometimes sour smells waft.

My stainless steal double door refriegerator owes much to Raymond Loewy’s 1934 Sear Coldspot Super Six that introduced the clean deco beauty of modern kitchens. That historic moment of profit by aesthetics fueled the new profession of industrial design. Kitchens became the domestic locus of modernity and replaced the hearth as the center of a home. After all, when my kids come home, we find them infront of the refrigerator, not the fireplace or stove.

Happy Birthday, Refrigerators!

Thank you Writer’s Almanac for the reminder:

The first refrigerator was patented in the United States on this date in 1899. The practice of preserving food by keeping it cold had been around for hundreds of years. At first, this meant burying it deep in the ground, or submerging it in cold streams. In 18th-century England, people collected sheets of ice in the winter and put it in specially constructed underground ice houses, where it was salted and wrapped in flannel to preserve it until the summer. That led to the development of the slightly more portable icebox: a wooden box lined with tin and insulated with cork or sawdust. A Scot named William Cullen publicly demonstrated the first artificial cooling system in 1755, but he didn’t put his invention to any practical use.

Modern artificial cooling systems work by compressing gas into a liquid state, and then allowing it to evaporate into a gas again, in a small space. This process removes heat from the surrounding area, and its discovery paved the way for the development of more advanced artificial cooling machines in the early 1800s. At first they were used in a hospital setting, to cool the air for yellow fever patients. But these early refrigeration machines used toxic gases, which created serious problems if the compression system developed a leak.

None of these early attempts — successful though they may have been — were granted a patent in the United States. It was the work of Albert T. Marshall that was finally deemed worthy, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the first American refrigerator patent on this date in 1899. In 1918, the Frigidaire Company was founded to manufacture home refrigerators. The market grew in the 1920s and ’30s with the development of Freon, which was a safe alternative to toxic gases; by the end of World War II, no modern kitchen was without one. It wasn’t just a convenience for housewives. Artificial refrigeration revolutionized the way food was produced, and refrigerated rail cars made it possible to transport perishable foods over great distances.

Here’s a food poem Deep in Our Refrigerator

 

Food Poem – Carrying Water to the Field by Joyce Sutphen

Poet Joyce Sutphen is able to conjure such vivid and intimate experiences through small everyday objects. I so enjoy her work. Hope you do too! Here is a poem about a mason jar of water from today’s Writers Almanac:

And on those hot afternoons in July,
when my father was out on the tractor
cultivating rows of corn, my mother
would send us out with a Mason jar
filled with ice and water, a dish towel
wrapped around it for insulation.

Like a rocket launched to an orbiting
planet, we would cut across the fields
in a trajectory calculated to intercept—
or, perhaps, even—surprise him
in his absorption with the row and the
turning always over earth beneath the blade.

He would look up and see us, throttle
down, stop, and step from the tractor
with the grace of a cowboy dismounting
his horse, and receive gratefully the jar
of water, ice cubes now melted into tiny
shards, drinking it down in a single gulp,
while we watched, mission accomplished.

“Carrying Water to the Field” by Joyce Sutphen.

The beautiful image that makes water drops look like glass sculpture is from:  http://www.taylourwhite.com/2012/03/18/mason-jar-and-water/

Mason_Jar_and_Water-2-1024x680

Food Poem – The Scent of Apple Cake by Marge Piercy

Yet another benefit to baking: “to make sweetness where there is none.”  I also loved the part about the sweetness of babies before “their wills sprouted like mushrooms.” Hope you enjoy the poem as I do!

My mother cooked as drudgery
the same fifteen dishes round
and round like a donkey bound
to a millstone grinding dust.

My mother baked as a dance,
the flour falling from the sifter
in a rain of fine white pollen.
The sugar was sweet snow.

The dough beneath her palms
was the warm flesh of a baby
when they were all hers before
their wills sprouted like mushrooms.

Cookies she formed in rows
on the baking sheets, oatmeal,
molasses, lemon, chocolate chip,
delights anyone could love.

Love was in short supply,
but pies were obedient to her
command of their pastry, crisp
holding the sweetness within.

Desserts were her reward for endless
cleaning in the acid yellow cloud
of Detroit, begging dollars from
my father, mending, darning, bleaching.

In the oven she made sweetness
where otherwise there was none.

“The scent of apple cake” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit. © Knopf, 2015. from the Writer’s Almanac, June 15th, 2017

Image and Recipe for teddie’s apple cake from Food52.com

Food Poem – Market Day by Linda Pastan

This poem beautifully illustrates the universal principle of local food.  Food memories and experiences across space and time have a common language.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

 

We have traveled all this way
to see the real France:
these trays of apricots and grapes spilled out
like semi-precious stones
for us to choose; a milky way
of cheeses whose names like planets
I forget; heraldic sole
displayed on ice, as if the fish
themselves had just escaped,
leaving their scaled armor behind.
There’s nothing like this
anywhere, you say. And I see
Burnside Avenue in the Bronx, my mother

sending me for farmer cheese and lox:
the rounds of cheese grainy and white, pocked
like the surface of the moon;
the silken slices of smoked fish
lying in careful pleats; and always,
as here, sawdust under our feet
the color of sand brought in on pant cuffs
from Sunday at the beach.
Across the street on benches,
my grandparents lifted their faces
to the sun the way the blind turn
towards a familiar sound, speaking
another language I almost understand.

“Market Day” by Linda Pastan from Carnival Evening. © Norton, 1998.

From the Writer’s Almanac, June 22nd 2017

 

Wobblyogi Wednesday – Yoga Poem- The Necessary Brevity of Pleasures by Samuel Hazo

Enjoy this yoga AND a food poem celebrating moderation. May we all have the wisdom to “savor every bite of grub with equal gratitude.”

Prolonged, they slacken into pain
or sadness in accordance with the law
of apples.
One apple satisfies.
Two apples cloy.
Three apples
glut.
Call it a tug-of-war between enough and more
than enough, between sufficiency
and greed, between the stay-at-homers
and globe-trotting see-the-worlders.
Like lovers seeking heaven in excess,
the hopelessly insatiable forget
how passion sharpens appetites
that gross indulgence numbs.
Result?
The haves have not
what all the have-nots have
since much of having is the need
to have.
Even my dog
knows that—and more than that.
He slumbers in a moon of sunlight,
scratches his twitches and itches
in measure, savors every bite
of grub with equal gratitude
and stays determinedly in place
unless what’s suddenly exciting
happens.
Viewing mere change
as threatening, he relishes a few
undoubtable and proven pleasures
to enjoy each day in sequence
and with canine moderation.
They’re there for him in waiting,
and he never wears them out.

“The Necessary Brevity of Pleasures” by Samuel Hazo from A Flight to Elsewhere. © Autumn House Press, 2005.

From the Writers Almanac on April 25, 2017.

 

Food Poem – Making Risotto for Dinner When His Ex-Wife Calls by Kendra Tanacea

I myself am an ex-wife and I’m also the wife cooking dinner during an ex-wife phone call. I feel the discomfort of intrusion from both perspectives. It is the unwelcome reminder that I am not the center of anyone’s universe as young love believes.  I feel the pang of the poem and its wisdom of being the other woman either on the phone or cooking. In this case, is cooking an escape or a grounding in reality? Maybe both?

While I mince an onion, he talks with her,
planning their son’s bar mitzvah, sounding
so familiar, so nuts and bolts. Turning up the gas flame,
I sauté the onion translucent. Butter sizzles, foams,
as they go over the invitation list, names I’ve never heard.

Adding a cup of Arborio, I think of white rice
thrown high in the air by the fistful. I pour
two glasses of chardonnay, one for the risotto,
one for myself, sip, then gulp. Blend.

The band, flowers, menu?
Heady, I stare at the recipe to orient myself, to understand
what I am doing: Add broth, cup by cup, until absorbed.
Add Parmesan. Serve immediately.

The word immediately catches my eye,
but their conversation continues, then his son
gets on the line and hangs up on him,
as I stir and stir, holding the wooden spoon.

“Making Risotto for Dinner When His Ex-Wife Calls” by Kendra Tanacea from A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees. © Lost Horse Press, 2017.

From the Writer’s Almanac March 31, 2017

Food Poem- Hamburger Heaven by Ronald Wallace

Tonight we find them again,
parked under the stars
(no one ever
eats inside in Heaven),
beeping the tired carhop
with her pageboy and mascara
for a paper boat of French fries
drenched in sauce,
a smashed hamburger baptized
with spices.
They’re sixteen and in love;
the night is hot,
sweet and tangy on their tongues.
Why do we stop?
They’re in Heaven, after all,
listening to the fry cook
in the kitchen
with his savory benedictions,
the AM radio playing
“Love Me Tender,” “Peggy Sue,”
unperturbed by the future with its
franchises and malls, its
conglomerates and information
highways. Is there something
we would tell them?
Here in Hamburger Heaven where
the nights go on forever,
where desire’s resurrected
and every hunger’s filled?
Wait! Do we call out?
But now they’ve seen us
close behind them with our
fervent “Thou Shalt Nots,”
our longings glaring in
the rearview mirror.
And they’ve turned on
the ignition
and they’ve floored it
and are gone.

“Hamburger Heaven” by Ronald Wallace from For a Limited Time Only. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.

From http://writersalmanac.org/page/9/

Food Poem- Room Service English Muffins by Kim Dower

When we travel we tend to notice the details, the fine print, the hidden salt and pepper shakers, better. We allow ourselves to break our own patterns and habits, we allow ourselves to try new things and accept deviations like butter on our English muffin, we allow a different world. This poem captures the sense of gratitude, awareness, and wonder on a room service tray.

If you’ve ever had one you know what I’m saying:
soggy with steam, too much butter soaking into the crevices.
At first you’re mad—you told them butter on the side
but then you’re grateful to have it. Day after day
you eat it dry, now away, alone on business
in your overheated hotel room,
you’re grateful for the butter, indebted to strangers
wearing hair nets in a distant kitchen for slathering your muffins,
tucking them into a cloth napkin, placed in a mesh basket,
variety of colorful jams for you to choose.
It’s enough joy just to take that first bite, if you’re lucky
it’s still warm even after the long elevator ride.
If you’re lucky there’s a yellow single stem rose in a bud vase,
shiny silverware poking out of the starched white napkin.
Why give me a fork, you think? You ordered coffee and a muffin,
why complicate it with a fork? And then you spot the tiny
salt & pepper shakers in the shadow of the napkin, and you wonder,
does anyone, no matter how troubled, put salt & pepper
on their English Muffins? Maybe.
Maybe when they’re far from home.

“Room Service English Muffins” by Kim Dower from Air Kissing on Mars. © Red Hen Press, 2010. From the Writer’s Almanac http://writersalmanac.org/page/2/

Food-Yoga-Writer Poem: Sweater by Jane Hirshfield

My new borrowed mantra: “You cannot write until you know how to inhabit your own experience” is from Jane Hirshfield. According to today’s Writer’s Almanac, she practiced Zen Buddhism for 8 years before returning to poetry.

Happy Birthday Ms. Hirshfield!  This is her poem, Sweater.  I hope to be “lengthened by unmetaphysical pullings on” like her sweater.  Enjoy!

What is asked of one is not what is asked of another.
A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer,
a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace,
making its pale Saturn rings of now and before.
Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table,
day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk.
Lucky the one who writes in a book of spiral-bound mornings
a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool.
Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking. Acrobatic at last, the
sweater,
elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to.
Patient the table; unjudging, the ample, refillable cup.
Irrefusable, the shape the sweater is given,
stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by unmetaphysical
pullings on.

“Sweater” by Jane Hirshfield from Come, Thief. © Knopf, 2011.

Wishing you a happy weekend,

Hungryphil