Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Poem about food

OK... so we talked this morning about writing about food. I think I will share a poem that my writing group is going to look at today. Tell me what you think and let's discuss why this one works (or doesn't work).

Lemon Cake
First you need great bowls
and a big spoon. Measuring
is easier with Nana’s teacups
the ones graduated
to your kitchen after her funeral.
It was all you wanted.
She used no recipe for lemon cake, 
taught you to measure the heft 
of flour in your palm, to see 
how much lemon juice fills
the teacups, to know a pinch
from a smidgeon just by feel. 
A pinch of cardamom, one 
of nutmeg, a dusting of poppy seeds
over the wet mixture. She mixed
clockwise, said the sun travels
that way and helps the mixture
to rise just so to the rim of the pans.
For frosting, a package 
of softened cream cheese, a splash
of vanilla and one of lemon juice.
Whip in half a hand of sugar  
with the egg beater she got
as a wedding present in 1926.

Later, sitting in your chair by the window,
listening to the rain come in gasps,
you will know her love is in the recipe
she never wrote, the one pressed 
into your hands, hands she taught 
and in the teacup you use tonight for tea.

Smell the lemons, smell her verbena.
— Carol 2011

You can see that this poem is in the second person "you," a reasonable strategy for taking the obvious "I" out and making the poem more universal. It is so even if a reader doesn't have a "Nana." The "you" brings the reader INTO the poem.  

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