Thursday, November 26, 2009

Familar dinners

"Families , real ones, are chairs and tables and the right number of cups..."
From Jeanette Winterson -Oranges are not the only fruit

The table, we absent:
square solid spruce,
squared solid legs
to hold pork& cabbage brought hot
directly from the kitchen, heavy pots -
matrices of tradition.
The load too heavy for this transient plane
we left behind, over the ocean.

The arguments, we present
to map our new values,
this brave new world.
Organic tuna helper, pasta salad
the foreign neighbours we invite for dinner.
'Twas once our familiar kingdom
gone now
all we have left : the same thanksgivings.

more about food customs and memories : Readwritepoem #102


Paul said...

That is a really wonderful poem, exploring a complex idea about exile and home through the use of food as image and done with a deceptive simplicity of expression. Fantastic.

anthonynorth said...

Powerful words, indeed.

Ana said...

thanks. "simplicity of expression"uhm...


davidmoolten said...

This really captures the original idea of Thanksgiving, not just the gratitude for the food and communion, but the wistful sense of loss of the old land, the sense of displacement and uncertainty in the new.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

That final line, especially poignant for me... and thank you, so much, for your thoughtful words about my poem this week. Wasn't easy to write... I literally wrote it in my head all week long.

Cynthia Short said...

Yes, the last line was so powerfully poignant, it brought together every emotion of longing and loss.

Ana said...

thank you for the kind words
as an immigrant I cannot claim I know what Thanksgiving was for the first settlers, I only know what it means for me...

@Julie & Cynthia
I guess because it might be an universal fact : as human we show the same needs, we are grateful for the same matter where we came from or where are we living now.

Paul Oakley said...

I love your phrase "matrices of tradition." Not the traditions themselves but the matrices within which tradition can be made and maintained: FOOD: FEAST.

Nice parallel of Old-World people starting over in the New, with reminders and frameworks of tradition but outside their known universe forging new ways, on the one hand, and, on the other, us in our brave new world, our transnational world, our eco-aware world making new traditions withing the matrices we bring forward from our past.

Deb said...

Wonderful epigraph to get us started. Using the furniture left behind is a terrific metaphor.

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done ana...thanks for sharing this

Ana said...

thank you for your kind words.
I totally agree on the furniture metaphor and the epigraph that inspired it...

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Ana said...

非凡 ,

thank you, I'll try :)

Julie said...

Big applause for an excellent poem. I love the details of the food, too. I also love the strength, weight, and permanence of the details in the first stanza in juxtaposition to the organic tuna helper in a cardboard box. Yes, the final line is very powerful. Wonderful work, Ana!

Ana said...


Yeap, organic tuna helper is quite non-traditional...and wow, I did not mention cardboard boxes but yes, they were those flimsy thingies...