Archives for posts with tag: Poetry

 

https://soundcloud.com/m-a-djeribi/ashraf-fayadh-a-melancholy-made-of-dough

 

The poet Ashram Fayadh is scheduled to be executed in Saudia Arabia. There is a call to read his poetry aloud all through today. There’s an appeal next week. Let’s keep hopeful: lots of publicity for his case, and maybe this Amnesty petition can help https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

I chose this poem for its unusual and disturbing use of bread-baking imagery.

Arabic Literature (in English)

This poem, from Instructions Within (2008), was translated by Tariq al Haydar:

A Melancholy Made of Dough

Parts of you pile one on top of another—a mixture of your blood,
sweat, remains, and discharge from your eyes.
And discharge from your eyes.
The knot of your tongue at the midway point of the ocean,
and when the sphere of the sun swims
in a preconceived orbit—
Complications!

What the sidewalk never mentioned
is that you used to step on it
and present your shoes on a plate of concrete,
your feet on a plate of shoes,
your legs on a plate of your misfortune.
You tune the strings of your head to affect your foolish delight,
you bury a skull—you’d rather not bear.
You heap yourself on a slate that claims whiteness due to a fistful of flour—
and you ferment.
You swell and puff your sadness like a hot loaf

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Happy New Year, dear readers.  Happy New World that we are all working so hard in our unique ways to imagine, to create, to inhabit.

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Cultivate is an active and inspiring  food cooperative in Oxford, England that unites growers and eaters in lots of fun ways. I encountered this poem on their website and wanted to share it here.

I hope that Jack Pritchard, “an Oxford-based wanderer (and occasional writer, forager, brewer and outdoor-swimmer)” — a.k.a. Oxford Wild Food — can imagine my hyper-linking on his poem as a kind of inter-genre collaboration. 🙂  In fact you could follow him on Twitter at @OxfordWildFood if you like Haiku in your feed, as I do!

But please read it once through before any naughty clicking, just to give this fabulous, hilarious piece of writing its due.

“Beet Poetry” by Jack Pritchard

I have seen the best veg of my germination destroyed by cooking:
carrots, beetroot, swedes; mashed with butter by angry chefs at dusk,
or grated and juiced by the illuminated machinery of kitchens
purple-headed onions burning in forgotten pans in neon-lit takeaways
and lettuce, turning, turning:
caught in the starry dynamo of the machinery of saladspinner.
Carrots, who curled, abandoned, on chopping boards; and leeks
who ran through streets in mad dreams screaming “celeriac! celeriac!”.
who rotted down on compost heaps
who sprouted in the supernatural dark of larders,
who were lost, beneath mouse-grey mould on ectoplasmic fridge-door shelves

who were rooted in the shadow of Didcot smokestacks
who cowered in terror under September squash-leaves
who tasted radiant cool flesh, of early-morning marrows
and who wept onion-tears as they contemplated
knifesteel, from hessian sacks and box-scheme crates:
who faced the peeler and the grater in insane fear of casserole
and nightmares of spilt beetrootblood, and gouged potato-eyes

who were macerated, blended, chopped; or marinated overnight with wine:
who leached their flavours into stock, or roasted crisp around the body of a duck
who dreamed of honey-glaze. Chillies,
who spilled their hot seed carelessly on formica worktops, and parsnips
too obscene for supermarket shelves: who were diced and boiled
for pasties and trapped inside the crescents of crusts, or
who found their place in cold cottage-pies

who were gently peeled, and chopped and sliced
with beetroot in the quiet of Oxford kitchens
who were dressed in oil in soft wooden spoonfuls:
who were served in bowls in cornerless rooms,
haunted by the echoes of verse and song
who shared their hearts with loving people,
who dream of broccoli forests and
who understand the power and the poetry
in these thin green stems.

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And a little more on the theme:

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Thanks to Bill Whitehead 

potato surprise   thomas' trucks

I have a Celebrity Crush.  Well… maybe she’s not really a celebrity, but Sophie Herxheimer is a London artist who works with people, stories and food.  She’s an incredibly creative artist and poet, and I get that tingle of excitement and possibility when I see or read her work.  It seems like her talents, interests, politics, and spirit are united and energised in a way I aspire mine to be.  She works with topics beyond food— but I wanted to share with Kitchen Counter Culture readers some of the work that might interest us the most.

Read the rest of this entry »

chickpeas

Something kind of momentous happened today.  I read the Rumi poem “Chickpea to Cook” for the first time. What a feat of imagination, to identify yourself as a chickpea being cooked, and to conceive this as a metaphor for how life shapes us.  A chickpea, anthropomorphised.   I recognise that there must be great artistry as well as contention between translations of Rumi, because the first version I include feels so darn contemporary, especially compared to other, earlier ones.

Chickpea to Cook (translated by Coleman Barks) Read the rest of this entry »

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Thank you Bill Whitehead for the much-appreciated opportunity to laugh.

I want to share this fascinating historical docu-poem, encountered on an Ecologist page , where you can read the full text by Heathcoate Williams. What an incredible thing this writer has done, to set this story, this biography, these food politics, to verse.

Here’s Nanjundaswamy’s obituary in The Guardian.   I am happy, via this video and poem, to have learned of his life’s work. Ten years on from his death, we are still fighting the same battles, for seeds, for people to have rights to stand up to ever more mega corporations, for foods to remain diverse and in “the commons,”– for a vision of Food Sovereignty…. For Democracy.

I wonder what my readers from India make of all this (including the uber-posh accent reading the poem).

And the really fanciful, sometimes happily straining rhymes:

Make sure to read the poem.

 

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