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September 2011

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poetry friday

friday feast: call me cookie






I am rich, buttery coconut with warm ginger tea, melty chocolate crackle on a Saturday night. If you like, marvelous molasses, merry in mid afternoon. A melting moment, a kiss, spicy and sweet.

Drop me, roll me, press me, powder me -- I am your favorite bar none. Flirting with dates, almonds, lemon and cinnamon, I always rise to the occasion. I go wherever you go, tell your fortune if you like.

Love me, love a cookie. Trace my life in crumbs.


culinarycory/flickr

IF ONLY HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD BEEN A COOKIE
by Diane Lockward

Chocolate chip, lumpy but popular,
sanctimonious with tradition,

irreverent snickerdoodle,
or a beautiful cookie like oatmeal lace,
delicate and chocolate-dipped,

visitor from a foreign place, Russian teacake,
shortbread with its dusty Scottish brogue,

the crisp Parisian sweetness of a meringue,
reminder that goodness breaks,

home-baked cookies from the kitchen
if only he could find his way back,
trace the trail of air scented with vanilla,
almond extract, and coconut,

the buttery goodness of his childhood
pulverized like crumbs on the floor,

a blizzard of cookies in December,
date nut bar for the lunch box,
Mississippi mud, the egalitarian black and white,

or an odd cookie, one that doesn't belong,
like a bitter espresso wafer, wimpy jelly tabby,

granola jumble with texture but no taste,
cookies that went astray,

Donna's Polish angel wings,
powdered and fragile as snowflakes,

cookies that emigrated,
crossed mountains, stowed away in ships,

slipped across borders,
and showed up in sweatshops,

flattened by the rolling pin,
cookies that staved off hunger, hid in pockets,
slept under pillows until morning light,
and did not crumble,

a blitz of cookies
spinning through Time
like pinwheels and pfeffernuesse,

cookies earned with his yellow curls,
soft renegade cookies,
dropped, refrigerated, rolled and cut,

cookies baked by his mother,
his grandmother, a procession of women in aprons,

their slippers padding into the kitchen,
women greasing pans, pre-heating ovens,

their hands dipped in flour,
fingers kneading butter, sugar and eggs,

women filling and enfolding him,
bringing him home, wrapped
in the unbreakable dough of their arms.

~ from Temptation by Water (Wind Publications, 2010)


pastelhearts/flickr

Diane Lockward is one smart cookie -- it seems she wrote this poem just for me ☺.  Did you ever think a catalog of cookies could be so provocative, seductive and devilishly delicious? Cookies are portable sin; even when the last crumb is gone, their textures and flavors linger, like lost loves. I like how Diane juxtaposes the seeming innocence of a childhood nursery rhyme with an adult sense of longing and loss, mixing in a little salt with the sugar. Her cookies are so well made, they transport you through time and space. Tip open the oven door, I crave just one more batch.


gnuf/flickr

Now, let's try this. If you'd like to satisfy your sugar cravings, chews one or a few wordy cookies as a prompt to make your own cookie poem. Leave it in the comments and I'll post all of them next week:

kneadacookie/flickr


thedecoratedcookie/flickr

♥ Dori at Dori Reads is our Poetry Friday host this week. I imagine she'd love to be snickerdoodled.

♥ Diane Lockward's official website is here.



♥ N.B.: Diane has posted an invaluable list of print publications that accept online submissions at Blogalicious. While you're there, sign up for her monthly poetry newsletter if you haven't already done so. She features great poems, prompts, craft tips, book recs and links.

♥ To read other Diane Lockward poems featured here at alphabet soup, click here (includes seduction by apple fritters and blueberries)!

♥ Also wanted to mention this (click on the image to get all the details):

*Special thanks to Madelyn Rosenberg for the link!


mksavage/flickr

Have a cookie-licious weekend!

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

Comments

Trace my life in crumbs

Even you intro is scrumptious, Jama!

Thanks for the intro to Diane Lockward's wonderful poem. Lots of food for thought. And that contest seems made for you!

Edited at 2011-02-04 02:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Trace my life in crumbs

I can't think of any other contemporary female poet who writes better food-related poems than Diane. Her work is always accessible and surprising.

(Anonymous)

tanita says:

Hah! I love your little Dumpty doll. Adorable. And man -- let us list out the cookies here! What a fun poem. I wish I could participate in the Whitman cooking thing - that sounds great.

Re: tanita says:

Yes, please do submit something! They want original recipes, which has me stumped -- but you have lots of them.

Mr. Dumpty sends his kind regards. He is eminently pleased that you acknowledged him.
Thanks for pointing me (again) toward Diane Lockward. I've read her poems on your blog before, but this time I visited her blog, liked what I saw and am now a follower. I love her humor and the oddball imagery she uses without worrying about it, and how readable her poems are.

I like that little teapot with the yellow shoes.
"oddball imagery" = yes! One of the reasons I love reading her poetry. And yes, always accessible and readable. Her blog is wonderful; glad you're going to follow it. :)

The teapot is by Carltonware of England. I have a set of footed pieces -- teacups, a plate, a cookie jar, a sugar container. Quite collectible as they don't make walking ware anymore. I have to keep my eye on them, though -- as they tend to travel all over the house ;).

(Anonymous)

I love the alarmed look on Humpty's face as he's reading :-) Great post, Jama. I signed up for Diane's newsletter. OK, here's a fresh-out-of-the-keyboard cookie poem for you:

Irresistible

Alone in the forest,
Red peeked in the basket.
Chicken soup, still steamy,
crusty bread, fragrant apples,
and four coconut macaroons --
flake-perfect, taunting.
What would Granny need
with four?
Surely three would be enough.
In fact,
who needs more than two?

The wolf laughed as he saw Red
settle herself on the forest floor.
He had been ready to dash
down the shortcut to Granny's,
but now he saw there was
no rush.

~~~
Tabatha
What a great poem, Tabatha! It includes not only cookies but soup! A girl after my own heart ♥. I love the ending, sends chills up my spine. Thanks so much :).

the pictures are killing me!

and i thought your intro could have been a prose poem unto itself.

i need to go workout just looking/reading all this. thanks for sharing your cookies.

Re: the pictures are killing me!

Thanks, David -- if one has to die, then death by cookies is the only way to go! *prances off to munch on a chocolate dipped oatmeal lace cookie*

Must make shortbread. That poem! It's mouthwatering and sweet in every sense of "sweet." I love that parade of cookies and the idea of tracing our way back through them. This post has left me yearning to go to my mom's house and poke through her old recipe box. Thank you. A.
I LOVE shortbread! The perfect complement to tea. I could definitely eat this poem up over and over again. Family recipes are the best, aren't they? Happy baking, Amy :)!
What a wonderful, evocative and sentimental view of the humble cookie. Nummy!
Yay, you read the poem! I will make a poetry convert of you yet, Debbie :). Do you have any favorite gluten free cookie recipes?
So far, I've mostly just made my regular recipes and substituted a GF flour blend. I do have a cookbook of GF baking recipes but haven't tried anything in it yet. *sheepish*
How much fun do you have with these posts and these wonderful photos? A lot of fun, I hope.

This made me giggle outloud:
"Love me, love a cookie. Trace my life in crumbs. "

And then Diane's poem....fabulous right up to my favorite at the end:

"women filling and enfolding him,
bringing him home, wrapped
in the unbreakable dough of their arms."

Unbreakable dough of their arms. I want to think like that!
Love that last line, too. This poem was quite a feast, wasn't it?

It's definitely fun to land just the right photo, and to see the post come together the way I'd like it to. :)
"irreverent snickerdoodle" and "shortbread with its dusty Scottish brogue" -- loves those lines.

What a yummy post! Inspired me to both read more about Diane Lockward and raid the fudge cookies baked on our recent snow day.
Oh, fudge cookies? Pass some over here, please :).

I also love the irreverent snickerdoodle. Of all the cookies mentioned in the poem, it's perhaps the one I most closely identify with.

(Anonymous)

Now that was delicious!
Tara
http://tmsteach.blogspot.com/
Glad you enjoyed it!
Dang. I made my first-ever flop of a cheesecake (bad texture -- little lumps of cream cheese [WHY???] -- but I'm sure it will taste okay) to take to a tea today and now I wish I could take plates full of shortbread, or big tangy snickerdoodles, or, well, ANY of the cookies in this post. I'm filled with cookie longing and cookie regrets. Humpty needs to give my doughy arms a hug!

Here's my poem:

write your words
bake your words
eat your words

a sweet love story
we tell
bite by bite
Oh, thanks for the tasty poem, Mary Lee! It's perfecto mundo!

Sorry to hear about the cheesecake -- but remember that lumpy is popular :). *sighs and wishes she had some cheesecake right now*

Have fun at your tea!
Oh, my gosh, those photos. Yum! Quick note: I think Humpty could be reading After the Fall by Arthur Miller. Or maybe The Wall by Peter Sis? Or All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren....
LOL! I LOVE those titles, and now that you mentioned them, Mr. Dumpty tells me he has indeed read those books, but remains especially pleased that someone thought to write a poem about him. Seems the nursery rhyme, repeated again and again for centuries, has given him quite the headache. :)