Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fred's Poems: "Praises"

Fred was a great lover of food, and so...

"Praises" by Thomas McGrath
The vegetables please us with their modes and virtues.
                                                                              The demure heart
Of the lettuce inside its circular court, baroque ear
Of quiet under its rustling house of lace, pleases
      And the bold strength of the celery, its green Hispanic
¡Shout! its exclamatory confetti.
                                              And the analogue that is Onion:
Ptolemaic astronomy and tearful allegory, the Platonic circles
Of his inexhaustible soul!
                                    O and the straightforwardness
In the labyrinth of Cabbage, the infallible rectitude of Homegrown Mushroom
Under its cone of silence like a papal hat —
                                                                  All these
Please us.
                And the syllabus of the corn,
                                                            that wampum,
                                                                                    its golden
Roads leading out of the wigwams of its silky and youthful smoke;
The nobility of the dill, cool in its silences and cathedrals;
Tomatoes five-alarm fires in their musky barrios, peas
Asleep in their cartridge clips,
                                                                colonies of the imperial
Cauliflower, and the buddha-like seeds of the pepper
Turning their prayerwheels in the green gloom of their caves.
All these we praise: they please us in all ways: these smallest virtues.
All these earth-given:
                                and the heaven-hung fruit also...
                                                                              As instance
Banana which continually makes angelic ears out of sour
Purses, or the winy abacus of the holy grape on its cross
Of alcohol, or the peach with its fur like a young girl's—
All these we praise: the winter in the flesh of the apple, and the sun
Domesticated under the orange's rind.
                                                            We praise
By the skin of our teeth, Persimmon, and Pawpaw's constant
Affair with gravity, and the proletariat of the pomegranate
Inside its leathery city.
                                  And let us praise all these
As they please us: skin, flesh, flower, and the flowering
Bones of their seeds: from which come orchards: bees: honey:
Flowers, love's language, love, heart's ease, poems, praise.

[Editor's note: this was not the easiest blog entry to format, but the poem is so mouth-watering that is worth it. Now, back to grading. Oh, and see here and here for more of Fred's favorite poems.]



Blogger Dr. S said...

When I see you, will you tell me how to format things like that? Or would you mind just sending me the code that produced that entry? I could figure it out for myself from there, but I can't access the code for your entries--just your overall blog design. I'm sick of putting up poems that look wrong, and I have some poems I'd like to post, someday, that will absolutely require the spacing to be right.

7:15 PM, April 23, 2006  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

This is a purely unlovable answer, but the only way I know how to do it is to write [ampersand]nbsp every time I want a Non-Breaking SPace... i.e., a space that html will recognize as such. I just guesstimated how many spaces I needed to indent each line properly, and then fixed it up as needed.

I do all my blogging and webpage writing in straight html code (in MS Wordpad), which means I am Mesozoic in my methods and helpful to no one. People who use Dreamweaver &c. to format their pages may have a better idea than I about how to do all this more efficiently.

7:46 PM, April 23, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

No, this is helpful; I'm coming to the html-writing gig late, and everything is useful.

8:23 PM, April 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never comment on blogs but this poem is awesome! Thanks for giving me a smile during my crazy busy season. Hope all is well with you as you wrap up the semester.

9:09 AM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Shelly: I'm so glad you liked it! I'm a really big fan of it, too. And it reads even better now that I fixed the damn typo.

It's my crazy busy season, too, so I'm feeling you Shelly. If you pull through, I will too. (Though that rain check we've got on the DC vodka bar is rarely far from my mind...)

12:23 PM, April 26, 2006  

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