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POETRY THURSDAY
My family is at the beach for the 3rd day in a row. Me, I'm not at the beach, because I'm the burn-and-peel type, plus have you been at the beach? If you don't go into the water, it's all just ...hot and cancerous. What I love best about these heatmaze summer days is the evenings, when the sun cuts us some slack and lights up the front of the dusk-clouds with rose and gold. When the air kisses us with a cool promise of evening breezes and the screens on the windows sway in and out so gently. When the cherry tree gasps a visible intake of relief when the water spray from the hose hits her in the legs. When there is nothing better than a long pull from the ice-cold water bottle sweating in the refrigerator, your throat tipped back and opened and the coldness of it splashing over your steamy insides. Summer is wonderful, but water makes it better; nothing, however, beats cold water.

When you think about summer do you think about food? Sun-warmed wooden picnic tables, the kind with the twin attached benches, laid out with an al fresco feast of potato salad, watermelon slices, cold pickles, deviled eggs? A grill leaps to mind, mazy heatsnakes rising to dance above, carbonizing hamburgers and flagellated hotdogs swelling below. Drippy slippy ice cream cones licked round and round or raspberry popsicles, rocket pops, fudgsicles freckled with white ice crystals—grab another napkin, dear!

The prompt for Poetry Thursday this week was "food." I don't often follow the prompts given, because I'm awfully contrary and my own prompts are often too powerful to deny, at least when it comes to poetry. And also, I admit, when it comes to food. This poem, however obliquely it goes about it, seems to me to really be about food. Summer and food.

The Chance To Love Everything
by Mary Oliver


All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby—
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,
grinning through their many teeth,
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly —something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house—
I imagined the red eyes,
the broad tongue, the enormous lap.
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope—
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?

More delicious poems can be found at Poetry Thursday

***

The deadline for Mosaic Minds is rapidly approaching, and as always, we are looking for poetry, prose and article submissions. If you're a writer, why not send something in? The theme for the August 15th issue is "Time Warp" but only feature articles need to follow the theme, otherwise anything goes. Submission Guidelines
 hot
mood: hot
music: Genesis—Turn It On Again


Comments

I'm always in the mood for Mary Oliver. Your line about sun-warmed wooden picnic tables instantly transported me back to 'our' beach on the island...where we'd go on Sunday mornings to order breakfast from our favorite (beach) cafe...and then eat it at one of the picnic tables lining the beach...before the cruise ship crowds would arrive...when we'd still have the place to ourselves...just us and a few locals walking or swimming. (sigh) God I loved those mornings...and the best part was that it was 'summer' there all year long. :)

(Anonymous)
Poetry Thursday

Love Mary Oliver, she's my favorite! Thanks for posting,

twitches

Summer is peaches and cream corn and raspberries plucked from the bushes in my grandparents garden. *smile* I have been meaning to comment and tell you how much I enjoyed reading about your vacation. I dream of going to Scotland one day, so this was a nice vicarious trip for me. *laugh*

Raising my hand as a fellow burn, peel, fade, burn, peel, fade, repeat all summer long. The key to the beach is to, yes, go in the water, but also, don't stay there all day. Two hours or so is good enough.

Summer food to me is wild Maine blueberries we picked ourselves in pies and pancakes and muffins. Garden fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob.

When you think about summer do you think about food?

Yes, I think of the fruit. Living where I live it's a bounty of berries - strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries - plus cherries, cantaloupe, plums and watermelon. I absolutely gorge at this time of year, then despair the rest of the year as I see the hard, flavorless little things they ship in from southern parts and attempt to fob off on as as real food. (Oh, plus there's the corn on the cob, tomatoes, and cucumbers. ::Adores::).

I'm right there with you. Nectarines and plums are my favorite part of summer.

The Mary Oliver book I requested is ready for me to pick up at the library--based on your previous poems. :) I'm not really a poetry person, but I've really loved the nature aspects of what you've posted before.

She is truly wonderful. Every poem is a treasure :)

(Anonymous)

What a wonderful picture you paint of summer...

And thank you for leading me to Mosaic Minds, what a wonderful site. I so wish I could contribute too, that would be so much fun - but I fear my English can't live up to it. :( But I still have the great pleasure of reading! :) You say "we" - are you involved with the site?


/Mia

http://mias.blogg.se

Of course you can, that's what editors are for! I'm the poetry section editor, and several of the people on LiveJournal (on my Friends list) are involved. carrieb is the one who started it. :)

this is totally random, but I saw your comment in modern dwellings, read your bio, aw you were a "motor city baby" and that your last name is Ek and was sondering - so you have relatives in the Grand Rapids area? One of my best friends (here's where it ggets really random) from High School married an Ek from Grand Rapids - and we grew up in suburb of Detroit. I'm sorry if this seems crazy, it seems a little crazy to me, but I've not seen a lot of Eks in the world.

*waves hello*

Well, my MARRIED last name is Ek, so I doubt we are related, except possibly by marriage and a lot of generational gap. My husband is Swedish (Ek means "oak") and we live in Sweden. But I have relatives all over Michigan, that's where my mom's family is from and where I was born and where I went to college.

My husband's family is pretty small, though, so if it a branch of Swedish Eks that immigrated to the States, the connection is probably pretty far back.

Ah, well, it was worth asking, and there probably is some ancient connection between your husband and my friend's husband - I do know he's a swede as well. When they were married - at the ceremony the Priest, after the vows etc when they turn around said "I'm proud to present to you - Mr and Mrs. Robert Eek!" You're probably one of the only people who can ee the humor thee, needless to say everyone in the church cracked up. Anyway, thanks for answering and of course hi yourself, Sweden is gorgeous, I can see why you'd want to live there. (I lived in France for several years, being an expat is one of those things that's gret, the horrible then really great, at least that was my experience). Nice to meet you, such as it is!

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