Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday

This week's PT prompt is poetry about food. Since this week was my first week at my new job (more about that in a future post), I haven't been particularly creative when I get home. I can say however that for years I had a very ambiguous relationship to food. My family isn't one that is crazy about food, and as a dancer and gymnast I had huge issues with eating for some time (not anorexia, but close enough). It wasn't until I took a cultural production workshop around food in grad school that I began to unpack the other cultural meanings food has for me...One day I may find a poem I wrote for the workshop and post it here, but for now, here is a poem I love by Joy Harjo:

Perhaps the World Ends Here

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
fallling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at th ekitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.

- Joy Harjo

The gits of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table

6 comments:

ecm said...

great poem! really enjoyed it!

twitches said...

I so love Joy Harjo - perfect choice when talking about the cultural connections to food as the cultural connections in her poetry are so intense.

"Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table" is a wonderful line, a wonderful thought.

Superhero Activist said...

This was such a perfect choice!

I was thinking about writing a poem about a midwest anomaly known as the "hotdish" and its predictable presence at funerals, family reunions, and holiday gatherings.

I think this poem captures (so much better than I could) the way food operates on a much deeper level than plain sustenance. I noticed many of the great poems this week took this route, capturing the social and cultural aspect of food.

pepektheassassin said...

Oh, this is really really wonderful! Thanks so much. I have heard of Joy Harjo, but am not really acquainted with her poetry. Now I will look her up! I love this one!

chiefbiscuit said...

Thanks for this poem - I really enjoyed reading it - Joy Harjo I believe is about the same age as I am ... I remember noting that fact once :)

sheela said...

what a lovely, evocative poem!