Sunday, June 7, 2009

"French Toast"

With apologies to all, I have to say I don’t have a new poem for Original Poetry Sunday—the ghazals feel a bit stalled right now, but I haven’t decided what this means—so I’m posting one of the poems I wrote last spring. Especially in light of yesterday’s “autobiographia literaria,” I thought this might be interesting.

Between late June & early July (about two weeks) I wrote seven poems, all on a “food” theme; in addition to “French Toast,” there were also the following:

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Alleluia (a bit of an “in joke” here—a name for pasta aglio é olio)
  • Macaroni & Cheese (this has been posted on the blog here)
  • Fondue
  • Greek Salad.

While I believe all seven are good poetry, I do feel at a bit of a distance from them for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it—& hey, French Toast is always great for your Sunday brunch…. & be sure to check out the following other blogs (at least) for Original Poetry Sunday:

Amazing Voyages of the Turtle
Apogee Poet
Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes
Premium T.
Secret Poems from the Times Literary Supplement
Yes is Red


Goldfinches camped out & hectic atop the yokes of
dandelions asked the musical question I
couldn’t catch—the world grows larger some days

the fruit trees blooming white & pink & rustling with
sparrows— the world gets smaller—a kitchen beating free-range
eggs with a fork in a red glass mixing bowl &

how much cinammon & nutmeg whisked into the eggs these things are
measured in pinches like a dream I dreamed dreaming What
larks! everything’s a laugh—

meadowlarks giggling in the pasture just now
this orange & blue marmelade morning L’amour la poésie
means nothing more than the world transformed thru a lonesome

Hank Williams’ whippoorwill yodel or the paired low C’s vibrating
over a mandocello’s mahogany soundboard
a scrumptious breakfast with sunshine

pouring Grade A fancy amber through the matchstick blinds a peal of
lovely laughter a rupture in the world’s brown eggshell—
the world grows large again back at the ranch I’m

dipping wheat bread into the egg mixture the unsalted
butter skating across the cast-iron skillet the egg-soaked bread
sizzles in goldenly—& orange wedges drip on blue plates my blue

heart my red heart my golden heart opens & closes &
shrinks & grows— the world I know the people I
hold in my heart as it grows & breaks—the

world is el corazón in a Mexican painting the
brown eggshell broken & full & inscribed—the
goldfinches scattering into the blue from the blossoms &

the French Toast’s served with Grade A fancy
light amber like a window—the golden crust this morning
is everyone’s sweet eggshell heartache

John Hayes
© 2008-2009


  1. Oh, my! My head is spinning from the rush of images expanding and shrinking and expanding again to fill this poem and this morning with beautiful amber sunshine! I love the speed with which the images tumble on one another and the beat of the whole. I must go back now and read it leisurely to enjoy each image one by one!

  2. Wonderful!

    I just had a big Sunday breakfast, but now I am craving French toast. I can smell that glorious scent from WM.

  3. Oh my yes. this is my very favorite of yours. I love how have you woven this everyday happening into a symphony of senses and emotion and meaning. Beautiful. "...a peal of lovely laughter a rupture in the world's brown eggshell" just sunk my heart... and then the final eggshell image... heartache and joy together, and both coming through so fully.

    I notice too that both of our poems today mention red hearts opening and closing. :) I hope you enjoy the Rumi offering with Coleman Barks and music. Just the setting I think for these poems of yours.

  4. More! More! I was there every step of the way with the French Toast as I often make it myself (sometimes I use cranberry foccacia). This was so good-in every way!

    I have to tell you John, I was opting out of carbs for dinner since we had croissants for brekky and fresh out-of-the City Bakery oven sourdough bread for lunch, BUT I cannot not have pasta for dinner now, thanks to your "Pasta Alleluia"!


  5. Hi Karen, Willow, René & Kat:

    Karen: Thanks-- yes, I guess I do hurtle at times-- glad you liked it!

    Willow: French Toast on a Sunday morning can't be beat! Like your new icon, btw.

    René: Thanks, I do think this is a good poem, & I appreciate your generous response. Interesting to think of trying a setting like the Rumi material-- it just might work. Thanks as always!

    Kat: Glad you like it. Perhaps I'll post both the poem "Pasta Alleluia" & the recipe "Pasta Alleluia" some day soon!

  6. Thanks, John. As a result of your remark I made a fresh sauce with tomatoes, arrabiata spice (and a dash of cinnamon), a dash of balsamic, frozen, chopped, garlic, linguine, olive oil and linguine tossed with Danish cream cheese. (all ingredients, organic). We are well satisfied now, thanks to you.


  7. Well, I thought you'd be feeling so horrible about not writing a Sunday poem I was going to suggest you should have posted Strawberry Rhubarb Pie because, as Mr Garrison Keillor says "Nothing takes the taste of humiliation out of your mouth like Rhubarb pie." But having read your wonderful French toast I guess you're probably not feeling so bad about yourself after all. What a rush. What a wonder.Grade A amber poured all over the paqe. The goldfinches were camped out on my feeder yesterday asking a musical question I couldn't catch either, and indeed the world grows larger some days and then constricts itself. I mentioned before how much I like the soundtracks playing behind and i particularly liked a dream I dreamed dreaming.
    What larks! Everything's not a laugh, of course, but it's nice to have moments where you feel like it's so, and this is one of them.
    Can you explain el corazon in Mexican art? I've seen clocks with a beating heart on them, I've seen day of the dead el corazon del muerte dolls with a heart painted inside the skeleton. I've read that el corazon is the most popular card in mexican bingo but I don't know what's behind it all. The Sacred Heart?

  8. Hi Mairi:

    Fortunately I've got enough poems in the bank that if I don't have a new one ready for Sunday I can always dip back into the past.

    Yes, I was thinking about the sort of el corazon images you mentioned, & I do believe the image is at least related to the Sacred Heart. Thanks for your usual generous reading!

  9. OK - French toast will never, ever be the same - your recipe once followed remains in savory memory! Yes, a most delicious post!

  10. I Feel Hungry!!!!
    Have A Good Week John.

  11. Hi Rose Marie, Tony & Reya:

    Thanks-- glad you enjoyed it!

  12. What a happy poem, John - "meadowlarks giggling in the pasture" is wonderful, and the whole poem is full of love. I'm glad you posted this for OPS - It's not New Original Poetry Sunday, you know. ;>)

  13. Hi Sandra: Thanks-- good point on the "New" part. Knowing the way I write, I'm sure it won't be the last old one I trot out.


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