Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rising to the rhyming recipe #NPM17

In our neck of the woods, we're back into several days of cloudy, showery weather, conditions conducive to following the suggested eighteenth way to celebrate National Poetry Month, "Recreate a poet’s favorite food or drink by following his or her recipe." If you find nothing to your taste  among the Academy's half-dozen or so offerings, take a look at The Favorite Recipes of American Poets. (I was not at all surprised to find reference that the creatively ubiquitous Maria Popova had uncovered the linked gem.) Then, feel free to act on the Recipe for Writing prompt provided by Poets & Writers. Writing about recipes and cook books, especially Keats's Porridge, even makes it into The Paris Review's blog. There's definitely substance to Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat lines about "a book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou..."

bread and poetry, staffs of life
bread and poetry, staffs of life
Photo by J. Harrington


As tempting as the preceding options may seem, the loaf of bread mention is, in part, because I'm about to start on a different kind of recipe. I've been reading Michael Pollan's Cooked and have now reached the chapter about creating a sour dough starter from scratch. Since I've been using "store boughten" starter from King Arthur for the past several years, and before that baked 5 minutes a day artisan bread, I'm curious to see what happens as I follow Michael's guidance. Perhaps, if all goes well, I'll be able to knead a poem which rose from very basic ingredients. Wish me success. (If performers are wished "break a leg," and writers are wished "break a lead," does one hope that a baker "breaks bread?")

Trees Need Not Walk the Earth



Trees need not walk the earth  
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
Where they stand.  
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry:  
A birch may wear no less the morning  
Than an oak.  
Here are no heirlooms  
Save those of loveliness, 
In which each tree  
Is kingly in its heritage of grace.  
Here is but beauty’s wisdom  
In which all trees are wise.  
Trees need not walk the earth 
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
In the rainbow—  
The sunlight—  
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them  
As beauty came:  
In the rainbow—  
In the sunlight—  
In the rain.


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