Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Every Sunday afternoon, I listen to The Splendid Table. OK, maybe not every Sunday, but I DO listen to every podcast of the show. I am a bigbigbig fan of their book, How to Eat Supper. The host's voice takes some getting used to, but they have great guests and topics on the show.

Recently, they had the poet Elizabeth Alexander on the show (she's the poet who read at Obama's inauguration). The inaugural poem didn't do much for me, but I loved the poem she read about butter. Yes, butter. If anything is poem-worthy, it's butter. Oh, and the reference in the poem to Little Black Sambo makes me smile too. I totally remember that book from my un-PC, late-70s upbringing...

My mother loves butter more than I do,
more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter meting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo's children despite
historical revision, despite
our parent's efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this butter poem, Sonja!