Thursday, October 21, 2010

The old familiar Celtic temperament...

by Anne Stevenson

You sleep with a dream of summer weather,
wake to the thrum of rain—roped down by rain.
Nothing out there but drop-heavy feathers of grass
and rainy air. The plastic table on the terrace
has shed three legs on its way to the garden fence.
The mountains have had the sense to disappear.
It's the Celtic temperament—wind, then torrents, then remorse.
Glory rising like a curtain over distant water.
Old stonehouse, having steered us through the dark,
docks in a pool of shadow all its own.
That widening crack in the gloom is like good luck.
Luck, which neither you nor tomorrow can depend on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A little bit of fennel, a lot of love

Dear Sarah Barry,

After just fifteen years, Sarah, [I always was a late bloomer] I finally got my mortar & pestle. I remember watching you grind fennel seeds, releasing that blissful aroma, preparing onions and garlic (for every dish!), practicing the perfect rice, trying Indian recipes, stir fry's, and experimenting with exploding, fantastical rice noodles. Oh. Those were good days and I can still feel the warm glow from your living room, catch the hot and steamy scent of good food cooking in your wok, hand-oiled, in that tiny, run-down kitchen in the back of your mother-in-law's house, or other times, in our shared apartment. You taught me to love cooking food, and to relish health and creative artistry at the same time.

I burst my new mortar & pestle out of its box, without even washing it (and you know how I feel about germs), and threw in some fennel, ground the seeds wide open and tossed them into the tomato, onion and sausage quiche I am preparing for dinner. It's baking now, and I am thinking of you with fond and loving memories.

Thank you for teaching me to love, Sarah, in so many wonderful ways. And thank you for bringing me to a deep love of cooking delicious food.

Love, Ally

photos by Scott Snyder

Monday, October 4, 2010

I love you, my testy pony.

Testy Pony
by Zachary Schomburg

I am given a pony for my birthday, but it is the wrong kind of pony. It is the kind of pony that won’t listen. It is testy. When I ask it to go left, it goes right. When I ask it to run, it sleeps on its side in the tall grass. So when I ask it to jump us over the river into the field I have never before been, I have every reason to believe it will fail, that we will be swept down the river to our deaths. It is a fate for which I am prepared. The blame of our death will rest with the testy pony, and with that, I will be remembered with reverence, and the pony will be remembered with great anger. But with me on its back, the testy pony rears and approaches the river with unfettered bravery. Its leap is glorious. It clears the river with ease, not even getting its pony hooves wet. And then there we are on the other side of the river, the sun going down, the pony circling, looking for something to eat in the dirt. Real trust is to do so in the face of clear doubt, and to trust is to love. This is my failure, and for that I cannot be forgiven.