Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dining In

Dining In

You looked at me across
the brimming glass. I seemed to see
a butterfly on your plate,
a meal on wings in a web too blue to be.
Serve yourself, you said, as sweet
as summer almond on the spur,
for what you've fluttered for
is blooming here.

Nibbling the small absurd
crustaceans of indifference well-assumed,
followed by a toss of  salad words,
fatigued in vinegar and oil to bite and blur,
till appetite on top at last flicked off
the garnish, two soft-curled buds
beside the tart smooth cream;
wine spilled on scarlet linen stays unseen.

Next there came the twist,
main course surprise,
all salt and sauce and judgement over-ruled--
the steam of it rose humid in our eyes;
in the end we had the dish we each would choose--
brief, delicious, light but quite forgettable,
with endearments for dessert, so green
so indigestible.

~March 2015

posted for     real toads

Weekend Challenge: Poeticizing Out
The multi-talented Karin Gustafson (ManicDDaily) asks us to write something inspired by a meal at a restaurant. I have kind of run a bit wide and wild here, but that's where I started.

Top Image: copyright Karin Gustafson,
Used with permission
Footer: Still Life Of Fruit And A Plate of Oysters, by Osias Beert
Public domain via


  1. It begins in an almost surreal and Lorca-ish vein, but in true Hedge style, you bring it back down to earth by the end, leaving orts of truth on the blue plate of special (if temporary) connections. There's something to be said for scarlet table cloths, but I think the speaker in this poem would not have much patience for artifice such as that, no matter how handily it might come in.

  2. In our house, dining in is a ritual that's been repeated so so many years -- it takes that long I guess to get to the secret of the sauces, so to speak. This has that intimacy, gross and delicate, forking the flesh, spilling the wine (what a line) and patting the lips. To be nourished and starved by the same meal is something that I think can only come from dining in. A gourmand's delight of word play and rhyme while the final line is hash-house true. Methinks the toads will surely feast on this.

  3. Hey Joy, the first stanza is almost a poem in itself--said the spider to the fly, type of thing--the dialogue and the scene setting and the rhythm and cadence of it are quite masterful--one sees one partner served up upon the platter--then you get down to business-- all this very sensual back and forth--giving as well as one gets--with a lot of fun phrases--the toss of salad words, the vinegar and oil, the scarlet linen and the wine (a bit of a scarlet letter there), and the last act--the denouement of the close--one feels rather sorry for the pair by the close as the greenness--seems to reflect a kind of inexperience--all that sophistication a bit assumed--(like the crustacean indifference) --and maybe not sitting all that well finally--like that type of young affair--I think of one finds out that these exchanges do leave something to digest no matter how light-seeming--thanks so much for participating and using this rather strange photo. K. (Ps love the oysters.)

  4. Many fine lines but this I love... all salt and sauce and judgement over-ruled--
    the steam of it rose humid in our eyes;
    in the end we had the dish we each would choose--

  5. ps-- thanks for the kind word about me! k.

    1. Nothing but the truth. I really really liked this photo, Karin--the butterfly, and the shadows on the plate. Thanks.

    2. It was a butterfly we saved from a glassed in porch, seemingly gone-- so we flipped it with paper or something onto the plate with honey. I have a funny little movie too where she/he gets going. k.

  6. Joy, your poem drew me in -- it's all in the details. The photo is inviting, like your poem, almost conspiratorial. It really seemed to come together with the line that reads "in the end we had the dish we each would choose".

  7. Oh I love this.. Bringing in the most important aspects of dining is the company. The image of the butterfly in the first stanza works like a metaphor for the words we spice the company with...

  8. How is it that you can break my heart and make the experience taste good? I sipped and nibbled with them. I wanted to eat it all, make it mine, enjoy the biting and chewing... even when my senses suggested that my innards would hurt afterwards.

  9. Binge and purge anyone?
    Of course I like the whole thing, but for some reason I'm especially struck by the phrase, " toss of salad words,"

  10. Awesome play on images and words :) Loved the last lines--especially "with endearments for dessert, so green, so indigestible"

  11. Beautifully surreal - almost a whisper. I loved the last line too.
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

  12. I love the endearments for dessert!!!!!

  13. Oh, my dinner with a twist. I love that second stanza!

  14. I'm glad to feast on your pen, piquant and savory, with the long draw at the back of the tongue that only fine preparation can bring. Going to read more as I wait in the DMV lines today. ..


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats