Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Food

April Intermezzo

In between courses
of blanketing grey
buffeting gusts
and showers,
rays of hidden sun appear
to cleanse the palate
of mood
and weary imagination
between plates of smoked trout
beef braised in earthy wine
and cellar aged cheese,
a spoon
of meyer lemon

Winter Banquet

From my place at the table
through the leaded panes
I watch
sparrows, robins, finches
and chickadees
hop, flutter, and flit
from the cedar fence ridge
and naked plum tree boughs
to the freshly filled feeder—
its top a beacon of yellow
the only color beyond the spectrum
of wintergreens
and dormant umbrage
at the string of grey
marked in months of days
while the plump squirrel
perches and plots his plan
this fruitless season,
no time of famine.

Bookmark Quote #131



When I have a little money, I buy books, and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.

-Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

Read the story of 1000 Bookmarks.

Canning Comfort


I stock the old pine cupboard with rows of mason jars
full of plump bing cherries
from this year’s record crop,
each one hand-plucked and pitted
and steeped in sweet red wine.

Five pounds at a time, I first wash,
then pluck, pluck, pluck
the stems from their belly buttons
fully ripe, their cords had let go of their mother’s arms
into the farmer’s hands,
then from the pile I
pick, squeeze, pit—
each stone hits the bowl
with a joyous ping.

I stock the old pine cupboard with rows of mason jars
forty-one quarts so far,
the result of ninety pounds of pitted fruit
and a generous case of wine.

Next to them rests a single jar
of old fashioned strawberry jam
the only one left from last year’s harvest,
back when cooking and canning
was simply done
to capture and preserve
summer’s sweetness at its peak,
before it was a meditation
to cope with grief,
an attempt to be present in a rhythmic task,
to feel the comfort of the hearth
the reassurance that seasons continue
another following the one that came before.

Needing to fill the old pine cupboard with rows of mason jars
sends me to the market
on the bricked and cobbled street,
the one they close each Sunday
and fill with farmers’ stalls,
street musicians, and sidewalk poets,
where I find peaches
whose scent of blossoms and sweet love
reaches my nose
before my eyes can notice
the cases filled with layers of their seductive shapes.

Like everything else this year they’re early,
before I’m ready,
and there’s no one left to make jam for
no one to enjoy his breakfast each morning
trimmed with jewels of peach, his favorite.

So I pass them by
and choose ninety more pounds of bing cherries
enough for a year of restaurant menus,
to return to my ashram of copper pots
and feel the comfort of a full larder
well before the weather turns cold.

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