Friday, November 05, 2010

the greens of yesterday

This is the week of found poetry for me, or perhaps I should call it delivered poetry: words given to me. Here’s a comment from my friend, Mitch, on one of my recent blog posts.

hey milt:
up above, you wrote "the chards of the past" . . .
just wanted to point out that what you MEANT to write was "the SHARDS of the past." glass that breaks is spelled "shards;" the vegetable is spelled "chard" (i.e. "swiss chard").
so, unless you were referring to the greens of yesterday, i think you meant "shards."
Here’s to the chards of the past -- and to kind and friendly editors.
the greens of yesterday
(shards of chard)
start by breaking the rainbow
stems at the bottom of the leaves
stack them like wood
and chop them into dice
toss them against
the side of the sauté pan
sizzling with acceptance
as they slide through the olive oil
be patient
tenderness takes time
lay the leaves flat
one on top of the other
like scrapbook pages
and then roll them up
tightly from one side
the way Cuban women
once rolled cigars
while readers unwrapped
novels to pass the time
and share the stories
slice the leaves
across the rolls
chiffonade is the name
which must have a story of its own
the chard segments fall
first in tiny spirals
and then unravel
like a good story falling
into layers of meaning
shards of suggestion
on the cutting board
like unread tea leaves
when the chard first
hits the pan it makes
a sound somewhere between
applause and anticipation
the moisture evaporates
shrinking the size of the leaves
distilling flavors
memory reduced to essentials
to how we want to remember
to what we want
to carry away with us
when we leave the table.


Sarah said...

love this, and it reminds me of this:

Satchel said...

I hope I can still be included in the ranks of kind and friendly (if unemployed) editors if I point out that the leaf-slicing technique described is actually "chiffonade" rather than "julienne."

I do like the found poetry.

don't eat alone said...

Satchel -- you are so right -- I got caught up in my own moment. You will notice the revision.


don't eat alone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
covert said...

well, you have done it again: made my day. if not the week. . . & you've got "best poem of the month" so far, will letcha know in december if you take the november pennant. . .

thanks, as always,

Karen said...

Hi! Cool poem... I am particularly amused because I just made the same correction in a novel I was reading - the author referred to "chards of glass". I seem to find at least one error per book these days - the kind that the spell checker accepts because it is a word and it is spelled right, but it is the wrong word.

My all time personal favorite comes from the Boston Globe, where I once read a sentence stating that someone arrived "on queue" instead of "on cue".

Keep up the great writing - you make me think.