Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I found a new blog recently called Poetry Thursday. They have all kinds of cool stuff -- columnists, writing prompts, thoughts on poetry, and poems themselves. One of the posts this week talked about the villanelle, a very strict poetic form that requires not only a specific rhyme scheme, but also the repetition of particular lines. Two of the best known villanelles are Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night" and Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art."

The form attracted me today as a metaphor for life. In these days full of violence and questioning, it struck me that we have to work to find a form for our expression and action. As we try to figure out how to respond to the world around us on multiple levels, we need some sort of rhyme scheme, if you will: some way to not only articulate our faith but to give it form in a way that connects us in the same manner that a great poem speaks from deep to deep.

All of that said, I took my shot at a villanelle today -- my first successful effort. I don't claim to be anywhere close to Thomas or Bishop, nor do I claim it necessarily lives up to the metaphor; I'm just putting it out there.


I call my blog “don’t eat alone”

and wish for friends at every meal

as I keep cooking in our home

or at the Inn that I don’t own

my joy with food I can’t conceal

I call my blog “don’t eat alone”

the kitchen is where love is grown

at least, for me, that’s been the deal

and so I cook to make a home

‘cause home is not a place I’ve known

since I grew up on wing and wheel

I call my blog “don’t eat alone”

the ache for home lives in my bones

belonging I most want to feel

so I keep cooking my way home

following crumbs that love has strewn

to what is real – (more than ideal)

I call my blog “don’t eat alone”

as I keep cooking in our home


maggi said...

thanks Milton. I enjoyed that. "since I grew up on wing and wheel..." nice line!

Hedwyg said...

Very nice! Revealing, poignant, and sweet. Thank you for posting, Milton.

(who has noticed that sometimes she feels more free within a structured form, ironic as that sounds)

Amy said...

I too love the "Wing and wheel" line... I also love the line "Following crumbs that love has strewn"

redbarn said...

I like the line "so I keep cooking my way home." Thanks for highlighting the poetry blog.

Tee said...

Milton, that's fantastic! :)

I'm so glad you found my blog because now I've discovered your blog - and I like it! :)

Nice to meet you, new friend.


Presbyterian Gal said...

"keep cooking my way home".

That is my favorite. And I like all of it.

Nicely done, you poet Olympian, you.

SpookyRach said...

Very cool!

Jessica said...

I love this poem -- a great example of the form. Currently, I teach at a culinary school and I will be teaching villanelles next week. May I share this with my class? I think they'd appreciate it. :)

don't eat alone said...


I'm happy for you to share the poem. Thanks.