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Bonjour, Mes Amis.  Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to tea and croissants. The pain au chocolat is especially good — is there a better way to greet the day than with buttery, flaky pastry wrapped around a decadent piece of deep dark chocolate? *rapture*

For passionate poet and gastronome Diane DeCillis, croissants are the stuff of dreams. About today’s poem, she says:

Yes, I had a dream about croissants. And maybe I was sneaking one. I have an almost pathological love of sweets.

Usually, I’ll take a dream and use some of the details as a framework. Since croissant is a French word for a Viennese pastry, I began to elaborate, adding that I was stealing in French and took it from there.

I remember being a kid and having a dream that there was a mountain of Paydays (my favorite candy back then) on the school playground. I was running toward it and woke up just before I reached it. Hence the end of the poem.

Croissant Lover’s Dream: the Ispahan (glazed with rose-flavored almond cream, sprinkled with candied rose petals and filled with raspberry-litchi pâte) by Pierre Hermé, Paris.

 

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED I STOLE THE CROISSANTS

I was stealing in French,

stole tender crescents
with a translucent glaze,
crusty and raspberry filled,

stole light
clouds of pastry
layered with butter.

glistening like Antoinette’s baubles.

I stole the moon, I stole la lune,
took le voyage dans la lunette.

I was the cow, la vache qui rit,
laughing and buoyant in flight.

I stole the sea, la mer, and la feesh,
that jump and dance in the moonlight.

I stole the night and the stars,
and wrapped them in silver
shaped like the neck of a swan . . .

Oh, don’t be jaloux, cher,

don’t foofaraw like the blue jays
and chimps. (They can become
jealous too.)

It was only one night
(cinq minutes dans ma coeur),
and, oui, some oozed
with chocolate,

sadly, none ever touched my lips.

~ copyright © Diane DeCillis, from Strings Attached (Wayne State University Press, 2014), posted by permission of the author.

(Click for pain au chocolat recipe via The Baker Chick)

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Oh, sweet words, sweet flirtation, light, lyrical and delectably playful! Do you also have dreams where you wake up just before the really good part? Is there a particular food you dream about most often?

Now, please leave your links below with Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the title of the poem you’re sharing or the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. Enjoy all the poetic offerings being served up in the blogosophere today and have a delicious weekend!

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Sweet Dreams!

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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It’s here, it’s here! My favorite season of the year!

Happy Autumn, Cutie Pies!

To celebrate, I’m sharing four haiku from that delectable harvest of foodie goodness, Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: Americas’ Sproutings by Pat Mora and Rafael López (Lee & Low, 2007).

This mouth-watering collection features fourteen familiar foods native to the Americas (corn, blueberries, chiles, tomatoes, pecans, pumpkins). With choice sensory details, touches of whimsy, and a generous sprinkling of joy, Ms. Mora captures their very essence, illuminating how these foods have enriched our lives for centuries (hello, chocolate!). :)

Each of the haiku is paired with a sidebar brimming with fascinating tidbits about the food’s origin, history, cultural significance and/or current uses.

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Guess who had a birthday this week?

Yes, the 6″ tan teddy bear who frequents this blog turned 26 on Wednesday. Back in September 1988, he winked at me from a booth at the Fall Teddy Bear Show in Timonium, Maryland.

He promised to be good so I brought him home. Mr. Cornelius turned out to be an avid reader and a good baker but has quite the knack for mischief. You may have noticed that he loves to have his picture taken (he’s not happy unless he has at least one blog close-up every week). I must say he keeps me very busy answering all his fan mail. :)

Just for Poetry Friday, he selected three favorite poems from Bears∙Bears∙Bears: A Treasury of Stories, Songs and Poems About Bears compiled by Mary Pope Osborne (Parachute Press, 1990). He had fun finding just the right vintage photos to go with them.

And just to make sure you don’t go hungry, he’s whipped up a batch of Lemon-Glazed Tea Cookies from Winnie-the-Pooh’s Cookie Book. Wrap your lips around a few while you enjoy the poems. :)

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Awhile ago, we learned that indefatigable former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis likes Snickers bars.

Do you think he keeps a stash near his desk, reaching for a chocolaty bite of nougat, caramel and peanuts whenever he starts a new poem?

Maybe.

But.

For someone who writes that much, and that fast, there must be yet another treat fueling his creativity.

Perhaps the answer lies in this freshly baked triolet, which Pat says was inspired by a Valentine triolet about love written by Wendy Cope, one of his favorite light versifiers.

via Secret Restaurant Copycat Recipes

 

OREOS

~ Apologies to Wendy Cope

 

My tongue has just decided

Its favorite treat is you.

And equally delighted?

My stomach! Any-sided

With peanut butter. Why did

I say I’d stop at two?

My tongue has just decided

Its favorite treat is you.

 

~ Copyright © 2014 J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.

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Remember when I shared Diane DeCillis’s exquisite poem, “Opera Buffa”?

I’m still sighing over “gnocchi lifted itself off the fork” and that lovely Panna Cotta — “silky, quivering cream adorned with fresh berries.” Remember silly Antonio, who wasn’t interested in ordering dessert? You simply cannot trust a man who doesn’t like sweets!

After reading “Opera Buffa,” I yearned for more of Diane’s poetry, which is why I was ecstatic when her debut collection, Strings Attached (Wayne State University Press, 2014), was released in May.

What a beautiful, lush, finely crafted feast of brilliance!

Her 60+ poems tease the intellect, warm the heart, please the ear, whet the physical and spiritual appetites, and nourish artistic sensibilities with their worldly elegance, lyricism, surprising turns-of-phrase, and evocative narratives.

I love how Diane’s passions for art, music, literature, food and family inform structure, theme, cadence, image, and metaphor. As in “Opera Buffa,” the food-related poems are infused with tantalizing sensory detail, whether she muses about her Lebanese grandmother’s stuffed grape leaves or leban (yogurt), “ethereal profiteroles filled with crème de la moo,” or terrapin soup à la Babette’s Feast.

Pop culture and high art happily co-exist in the layers of Diane’s imagination as she riffs on the likes of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Magritte, Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake Mix, Tab Hunter/ Sandra Dee in a fleabag motel, Chopin, Debussy, Rilke, Gertrude Stein, “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Punch Drunk Love.”

Stuffed Grape Leaves via Jean Rivot

Diane brings her own brand of self-deprecating humor to these poems (“What Would Hitchcock Do?”), but there are also poignant notes of longing for an absent father (“Finding Fathers”), the push-pull dynamics of generational clashes (“Milk”), the vagaries of love, the liberation of dreams, the richness of cultural heritage.

Today I’m happy to share one of several prose poems from Strings Attached, perhaps the “foodiest” in the collection. I love how Diane has composed this sensorial symphony of sounds, colors, flavors, aromas and textures, lovingly capturing a cherished moment in time. A masterful culinary canvas!

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