Pear Tart and Poetry

I’ve written a lot about food and cooking, and wrote this poem after
making a Julia Child tart.

Loaves and Fishes

This weekend, while I poach the perfect pears
in wine and sugar and ginger,
while I bake paté brisée, whip
crème anglaise with its spice-imbued milk,
carefully slice crescents of cooled, softened pear,
and layer them in geometric circles,
armies of hungry children roam the streets
for trash to eat
somewhere far from here.

I know they’re out there.
My whole generation had to finish
what was on our plates
because children were starving
in India, as if we had to eat
for everyone.

If I could, I would take
this perfect tart and transform it
into loaves and fishes. I don’t pretend
to understand why it’s fallen to me,
this cornucopia of succulent fruit,
of scapes and green garlic, tender baby
lettuces spread on folding tables
at outdoor markets four days a week,
while others probe gutters for crusts.

I think if I were out there, scrabbling
for enough to eat, I would be cunning
and merciless. I would be one
who survives.

Meryl Natchez

3 thoughts on “Pear Tart and Poetry

  1. Nice poem. Right when I started to smile over the softened pear, you dropped me into reality. I feel and see that reality, too. It’s the reason why I can’t walk by food on the floor at the grocery store. Have to pick it up…

  2. Wow, Meryl,

    This is a beautiful poem. I love the turn in it, when we were kids, and the punch of the survivor ending. You are so talented, I had no idea. Thanks for sharing. Do you mind if I share it among my Kauai writer’s group?


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