Not Just Nourishment

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Whitefish and Solstice Spuds speak for themselves. In my working career as a Great Lakes scientist I was often in Windsor, Ontario, at the International Joint Commission offices to meet with  our U.S. colleagues from Ann Arbor, Michigan, or to conduct field work on Lake St. Clair.  These junkets often involved  camping out in inexpensive motels, the inspiration for Restaurant Raspberries.

 

Whitefish

The day is silver-grey,
The colour of the fish’s back I prepare for dinner.
The flesh is cool and pleasant to the touch,
Like the inside of a sleeping lover’s arm.

And maybe it’s just the gloomy day,
Or maybe the closeness of this change from life to meat,
But I am wistful,
Imagining this compliant body
Bright, taut and flashing in cold, clear northern water.

It is tenderness I feel,
Placing the onions and parsley along the spine,
Sprinkling the rosemary, chastely closing the body’s opening.
The herbs are from our garden;
I am consoled by these preparations

(September 1997)

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Solstice Spuds

Old potatoes,
Pocked and pitted, thick and bitter skins,
These will see you through the longest winter.
Plain old spuds and turnips, steaming on a plate
While wind and rain lash the black window
And damp sheets in the next room wait
To ferry us across the long nights to sunrise and a new season.

Ah, but new potatoes,
Dug upon midsummer’s eve,
With skins that peel away under a child’s soft thumb!
These have no wisdom and they are willing
To lie in a white bowl, clad only in melted butter,
Abandoned to the rising glories of the flesh
And no thought for winter.

(June 2004)

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Restaurant Raspberries

The waitress brings neat omelettes,
triangles of toast,
and jam, sealed in plastic doses.
I see your dark hair
waving among the raspberries,
your fingers red with juice,
dancing in a suppertime sun.
Moving out from you,
I have become a ghost
nourished by shadows.

(November, 1978)

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One thought on “Not Just Nourishment

  1. These poems and the sketches brought to mind all sorts of food, gardening and fishing related memories. Remember the crab apples you gathered from the trees at CCIW? Then later the tree at 305 that you made pickled crabapples from. The jars of those were beautiful. That reminds me of the sound of opening the door to the root cellar room in the basement at the bottom of the stairs – and the jars of preserves on the shelves, the baskets of apples in layers of newspaper, etc. And the rectangular reddish-orange glow of the little light on the big freezer that was next to the root cellar.
    Picking raspberries – as a little kids we had a good vantage point for the lower berries. Brioche would help herself to the ripe berries that hung over the fence. I remember braiding some of the long grass next to the fence around the vegetable garden. I still have dreams of that garden, the field behind the house, the house, Mrs Lemon’s farmland, the valley, etc

    Liked by 1 person

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