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
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