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.
Sometimes there’s more to abrownie than meets the eye.
A really good brownie could become your identity, your touchstone, your raison d’être.
A dark chocolate fountain of creativity, the right brownieis your heart of hearts and knows where you live.
Just ask Judyth Hill.
BROWNIES by Judyth Hill
I got famous for them, brownies,
adding nuts and all my attention,
9 years of my life, to the batter.
The recipe reads:
Stir with all your desire to be a poet.
Break 27 thoughts about God, children,
and postgraduate degrees.
Beat till thick with ambition.
Fold in longing and chocolate, hot as the tar roof
on 101st & West End.
Mix just till you remember all the words to Mac the Knife,
Add nuts and the words Jonathan wrote on the boxing gloves
I got for Christmas:
Words from Catallus, Odi et Amo:
I hate and I love.
You ask how that can be.
I know not, but I feel the agony.
He gave me sporting equipment a lot,
though I don’t do sports.
He always remembered to add the words.
I do words.
I do brownies.
I do variations on brownies, cantatas of brownies
sonatas of brownies, quintets of fudge.
And short compositions featuring chocolate
as if it were a bassoon.
Perhaps I am the Picasso of brownies.
My blue period, the year I cried over every batch.
The way the one eyed woman can eat a brownie
and still be in my painting — a trick I discovered
and it became a genre.
Perhaps I am the Seurat of brownies,
dots of primary flavor
deep, sweet, salt,
an illusion adding up to the spectrum of dessert.
I am the Einstein of brownies,
discovering how the more chocolate you eat,
the later it gets.
Discovering how Poem x the Speed of Light² = Brownies.
Discovering that mass, brownies, and time are infinite.
Discovering that the energy of the universe
will go into each pan,
and it’s still brownies.
Maybe I’m the Martin Buber of brownies.
Climbing 10 chocolate rungs to grace.
Or the Albert Schweitzer of brownies,
giving brownies to everyone,
whether they need them or not.
What if I’m the Donald Trump of brownies,
building a cocoa empire.
Blocks of fudge, whole towers of semisweet,
bittersweet and Swiss, bullions of brownies,
chips of profit and loss. Or Lenny Bruce.
Hilarious and obscenely chocolate.
Chocolate so good it’s dirty,
and we can’t talk about it here.
Perhaps I am the Chanel of brownies,
designing a brownie for every outfit,
accessorizing brownies with shoes and bags,
a suit, a rich dark color that goes with everything.
~ from Written with a Spoon: A Poet’s Cookbook, edited by Nancy Fay & Judith Rafaela (Sherman Asher Publishing, 2002). Posted by permission of the author.
Judyth says, “At the time I wrote ‘Brownies’, I owned and ran the famous Chocolate Maven Bakery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am the original Maven! The bakery has gone on to be a huge success, and I sold her to pursue my career as a Poet/Author.”
One, two, three, and as pleased as can be to see this delectable new counting picture book by award-winning poet, author and teacher Kathi Appelt!
For one, I’ve long been fascinated by crows and their supreme intelligence. Did you know they can distinguish individual humans by recognizing facial features? Or that they can not only use, but in some cases, manufacture tools? They engage in sports and play, and yes, they can actually count!
(Uncanny, but just as I finished typing the previous sentence, I heard three jubilant caws of approval in the back yard. I’m sure our resident crows know when they’re being written about. Told you they were smart!) 🙂
The two things I love most about Counting Crows (Atheneum BFYR, 2015) are the varied, innovative rhyme schemes and the fact that the crows are counting, of all things, SNACKS*licks lips*! Not to mention Rob Dunlavey’s fetching feast of whimsical illustrations capturing the peckish personalities and comical antics of these red-and-white sweater-clad flappers in a striking three-color palette of black, white and red.
Have you ever loved a food so much you wanted to inhabit it?
I guess there’s truth in the saying, “Home is where the cacao is.” 🙂
HOME SWEET HOME
by Kate Bingham
I need a chocolate bar I can live with,
nothing too big, a red-brick biscuit base, perhaps,
south-facing, on a quiet, tree-lined residential street
where parking late at night won’t be a problem.
Nothing too crumbly either. I don’t want
to be sweeping up bits of cornice all weekend
and pestering the surveyor with each new crack
in the milky bar matt emulsion shell.
It’s got to be the sort of place I can forget about,
with cocoa solids minimum 65 per cent
and nougat foundation limed with soya lecithin
cement and bourneville guttering
no matter what the cost because you can’t price
peace of mind and that means no original features,
nothing too fancy, nothing architect-designed.
There’s only me, I know exactly what I’m looking for,
not space so much as surface area, a honey-comb interior,
with wafer walls and butterscotch parquet
leading from room to room, each mouthful lighter,
sweeter than the one before and breathed, not tasted,
like a puff of icing sugar. Coming home
will be a hit, a score. I’ll drop my hand-bag in the hall,
tie back my hair, lie down and lick the floor.
It’s always a treat to “discover” a new-to-me poet, and Kate Bingham’s winsome and witty verse was just what I needed to chase away my cabin fever and winter blues. (When in doubt, think brown, and don’t be afraid to cross over to the dark side.)
After nibbling on this poem, I began to fantasize about the choco-cabin of my dreams.
Hmmm, something warm and cozy,
all furnishings made of the finest Belgian chocolate:
Some people like to wear their lampshades, I like to eat mine.
What’s a home without tasty flowers?
I must have a bottomless chocolate teapot that pours and pours all day,
and good quality flatware. Why just lick your spoons, when you can lick your knives and forks too?
What else? A nice old-fashioned rotary phone in case I need to order take-out or call Mr. Firth. For any robo-calls or annoying telemarketers, I’d eat the receiver.
Yes, a good tool kit to tinker and fix,
and a piano (I can play Schumann’s “The Happy Chocolate Farmer” by heart)!
Oh yes, this is where I’d sleep (and dream about mountains of dark sea salt caramels).
Mr. Cornelius would sleep here:
Each morning I’d hop out of bed, slip into something comfortable,
click my heels together,
turn on my laptop, then write the tastiest blog post ever, bar none.
Now, you may eat this post, if you like, along with a Mississippi Mud bar:
Tell me, where do you live?
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Poet and Author Robyn Campbell is hosting today’s Roundup. Check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Hope you find the chocolate bar of your dreams!
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This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Slip on your chocolate dress and come join the fun!