Will you be my Valentine?
I’ve got chocolate chocolate chocolate!
According to my highly scientific research of the last 8 years, most writers claim chocolate inspires their best work. Is it all those mood altering chemicals creating an instant high (the same feeling we get when we fall in love)? Or maybe that pure, eyes-roll-back-in-the-head pleasure when a piece of velvety smooth chocolate brazenly yields to our body heat and melts in our mouths, ever-so-slowly releasing its deep, rich flavor? Yes, and Yes.
Whatever your pleasure — brownies, fudge, ganache, chip, bonbon, bark or bar — chocolate is the language of love. When it speaks, I listen. Chocolate gets my creative juices flowing, makes me fall in love with books, words, reading and writing all over again. I like having a little cacao in my corner, whispering, “You can do it!” 🙂
Today we’re serving up three delectable chocolate poems for your Valentine’s Day pleasure. Gary Hanna offers a bit of sweet seduction, Ed Zahniser rhapsodizes about his intense love for chocolate, while Rita Dove speaks the plain truth: when it comes to chocolate, it’s hopeless to resist.
by Gary Hanna
Let me offer you
from my heart, like
a cherry cordial
hidden in the dark
chocolate of my eye,
deep in the liqueur
of my personality,
an expectation to
choose from. Some-
thing sweet and
succulent but one
that will not last
too long, only entice
you to come back
for more. Isn’t that
what it’s all about,
on Valentine’s Day.
~ Copyright © 2015 Gary Hanna. From Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse, edited by Sally Zakariya (Richer Resources Publications, 2015).
GHAZAL OF CHOCOLATE
by Ed Zahniser
I want a chocolate torte cake made with no flour.
I want chocolate-covered strawberries — hold the berries.
I want chocolate on a grand scale that won’t weigh me.
I want chocolate so dark it can’t find my waistline.
I want chocolate-covered bananas — hold the bananas.
I want a café mocha — hold the coffee and frothed milk.
I want chocolate lay-away just in case.
I want to try the chocolate case — not hear it.
I want free-standing chocolate-filled — hold the whatever.
I want chocolate mousse as big as Alaskan moose.
I want the Olympic-sized chocolate swimming pool.
I want to look down on chocolate from the diving platform.
I want to be the pool for a chocolate fountain.
I want the economy back on the chocolate standard.
I want SomeMores — hold the crackers and marshmallow.
I want the world’s biggest chocolate bar none.
I want to open a chocolate bar.
I want to be its chocolate bartender.
I want to be a chocolate insurance underwriter.
I want chocolate love handles.
I want chocolate love.
I want chocolate.
~ Copyright © 2010 Ed Zahniser. From The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Germany, edited by Grace Cavalieri and Sabine Pascarelli (Forest Woods Media Productions, Inc., 2010).
Note from Ed: I used the name “Ghazal of Chocolate” for the poem because this Middle Eastern verse form is, as I understand it, pronounced much like the English verb “guzzle.” And I like to guzzle chocolate.
by Rita Dove
Velvet fruit, exquisite square
I hold up to sniff
between finger and thumb –
how you numb me
with your rich attentions!
If I don’t eat you quickly,
you’ll melt in my palm.
Pleasure seeker, if I let you
you’d liquefy everywhere.
Knotted smoke, dark punch
of earth and night and leaf,
for a taste of you
any woman would gladly
crumble to ruin.
Enough chatter: I am ready
to fall in love!
~ Copyright © 2004 Rita Dove. From American Smooth (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004).
The language of chocolate, the language of love, is evocative and sensual. There’s always something a little bit naughty about chocolate, don’t you think? Sweet sinful indulgence! I’m endlessly fascinated by chocolate’s allure. The darker the better. Even the coy among us are willing to take the plunge. After all, death by chocolate is the only way to go. 🙂
Will you have another bite of cake? This year I decided to make Grandma Rosie’s Chocolate Cake recipe using my new cakelet pan. There’s something extra charming about individual little cakes. Plus, you don’t have to share 😀
As before, the cake turned out moist and fudgy, a one-bowl recipe that’s easy to make with such satisfying results. You may remember I first made this cake for my review of Baking Day at Grandma’s by Anika Denise and Christopher Denise. It was delicious then with a vanilla buttercream frosting, but this time around I wanted a mostly naked chocolate cake (tee hee), so I tried a little confectioner’s sugar over top, a spritz of whipped cream, and a vanilla glaze + sugar sprinkles. All to die for.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
♥ ABOUT THE POETS ♥
Gary Hanna received two Fellowships in Poetry and five individual artist awards from the Delaware Division of the Arts and a Residency Fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts from the Mid-Atlantic Art Foundation. He has published two chapbooks: The Homestead Poems and Sediment and Other Poems, both from the Broadkill Press.
Ed Zahniser lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he co-founded The Good News Paper in 1979 and still serves as poetry editor. He was a founding editor of Some of Us Press in Washington DC in the 1970s, when he worked as assistant editor at The Wilderness Society. Recent books include Mall-Hopping with the Great I AM (Somondoco Press, 2006), At Betty’s Restaurant Thomas Shepherd Loves Danske Dandridge and the Shepherdstown Sonnets (Four Seasons Books, 2014), and At the End of the Self-Help Rope: Poems by Ed Zahniser (Scarith Press, February 2016).
Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, more recently, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the 1996 National Humanities Medal. In 2008 she was honored with the Library of Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri.
Her books of poetry include Sonata Mulattica (W. W. Norton, 2009); American Smooth (W. W. Norton, 2004); and On the Bus with Rosa Parks (W. W. Norton, 1999), which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she has been teaching since 1989.
Kimberley Moran is hosting today’s Roundup at Written Reflections. Take her some chocolate and check out the full menu of poetic goodness on this week’s menu. Have an especially scrumptious and chocolaty Valentine’s Day weekend!
I leave you with Rita Dove reading “Chocolate”:
♥ ♥ ♥
This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.