Friday, April 16, 2010

Edible Poems: The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I'll share some of my favorite poems about food. You might also visit Jenni at Prairie Air who is also serving up tasty morsels of poetry.

Around dinner time, I get the urge to go door to door in my neighborhood to investigate what my neighbors are preparing for meals. Part of this curiosity is related to my interest in food, but I'm more interested in the narrative behind the meals and what dinner rituals reveal about people.

My first edible poem "The Bean Eaters" is an example of narrative I hope to find when I knock a neighbor's during dinner time. This is a snapshot that is more than the sum of its parts. If you look closely you'll see something much more than dinnertime.

The Bean Eaters

by Gwendolyn Brooks (I found that she was born in Topeka, so I claim her as a Kansan.)

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware.
Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in
their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

pass the gravy,



Nella said...

I didn't even know it was Poetry Month and I, too, included a poem in my blog today. We foodies certainly are on the same wavelength. Thanks Teach! By the way, I sure have enjoyed your writings of late. You seem to be writing from the heart. N

Anonymous said...

I was totally digging this post ... and then at the bottom in the "three other recommended posts" section, I saw "For Better or Worse: Boiled Meats." In order to save this, you're going to have to write a poem about boiled meats. And no limericks!

Jenni said...

Thanks for the link:o) This edible poem is more my style. I like the glimpse into this old couple's life. There is serenity in the simple rhythm of their daily rituals. Nothing fancy, just a long life, well-lived and full of love.

If you came around here at dinner time, you'd probably find us eating in front of the TV. We've never been regular about doing dinner at the table. With Danny working construction, there was never any definite time he'd be home, just when they were done finishing concrete or whatever. Now the kids have so much going on. I'm trying to change that a little. I think now that I've fixed up the old patio furniture and the deck is up we'll be eating outside together more often. That's the plan for tonight. Firehouse meatloaf, crispy stir fried green beans, and mashed potatoes.