Allow me a completely self-indulgent moment to be a full-on geek. Last night I attended a poetry reading by one of my absolute favorite poets, Seamus Heaney. When he read this one aloud, I was immediately reminded of why I love to write, and why I specifically love to write about food. This poem is as much about food as it is about history and conquest, but like all poetry… the reader can take what he will. I promise, tomorrow I’ll be back to photos of sweet and/or cheesy goodness.
Today we feed our brains.
by Seamus Heaney
Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.
Alive and violated,
They lay on their bed of ice:
Bivalves: the split bulb
And philandering sigh of ocean
Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered.
We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery.
Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
The Romans hauled their oysters south of Rome:
I saw damp panniers disgorge
The frond-lipped, brine-stung
Glut of privilege
And was angry that my trust could not repose
In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
Leaning in from sea. I ate the day
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me all into verb, pure verb.