Another Wednesday morning, caught in some dreadful cubicle somewhere, the day itself most likely fraught with rain and dreary skies if you’re here in Houston. What better excuse for a food poem to cheer the soul? And a food poem that celebrates rainy skies, at that?
Today’s poem comes from another modern poet who is still with us, Marie Ponsot. Born and raised in New York City as the daughter of a wine merchant, she began writing poetry as a very young child and never stopped. Like last week’s poet, she also studied and lived in France after World War Two. She is also the author of two wonderful books on writing, Beat Not the Poor Desk and The Common Sense (not to be confused with Payne’s seminal work, of course).
Although she is 87 years old, she still teaches poetry and creative writing at the 92nd Street YMCA, should any you New Yorkers be interested in learning from a legend.
Underwater, keeled in seas,
zinc the sacrificial anode gives
electrons up to save the sunk hull from salt.
The carving of salt water skirls out beaches
where each wave fall can push softly, a long curve in.
Rain widens the waterfall till the stream
slows, swells, winds up, and topples down
onto lilypads it presses forward on their stems.
Carp drowse among stems sunk in the park lake,
their flesh rich in heavy metals. Eat one and die.
A drip from the tap hits the metal sink
& splats into sunlight, cosmic,
a scatter of smaller drops.
One raindrop on a binocular lens,
and a spectrum haloes the far field.
Haloes dim the form they gild but
by its own edge each object celebrates
the remarkable world.
Personal computers make dry remarks, demanding:
Tea, wine, cups must leave the room.
We’re all the wine of something. His Dickens act,
her Wordsworth murmurs, expressed
juices still in ferment when their old children read.
Bones left after dinner simmer down into juices
to make a soup rich as respect or thrift.
As if making allowances
for the non-native limbs of swimmers,
water gives way as I spring into it.