quiet, please

Felice Casorati


No noise, chatter, busyness or worry.

Deep breaths.

Silence, sweet silence.




by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

~ from Extravagaria: A Bilingual Edition, translated by Alastair Reid (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001)


“La Solitude du Christ” by Alphonse Osbert (1897)


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friday feast: knock your socks off

No socks greeting by Carrie Peters.

Okay, let me see your feet. Are you wearing socks?

If so, take them off immediately! Today is No Socks Day!

That’s right — a special day set aside to help the environment by doing a little less sock laundry. Happy toes, here I come!

Nope nope nope. You won’t find any socks here today. Not a one.

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friday feast: rhapsody in tomato

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”  ~ Laurie Colwin

 “Ripe Tomatoes” by Robert Duncan, oil on canvas.

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What’d life be without homegrown tomatoes
There’s only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.

I can’t get this Guy Clark song out of my head. And ain’t it the gosh darn truth?

There’s nothing that says summer like homegrown tomatoes. Sure wish we had some.

Oh, we had buckets of them when we lived at our old house. Len had a nice sized vegetable garden, and almost every weekend during the summer, he’d go out and pick a few ruby red beefsteak beauties. He’d slice into one of those sun-warm, smooth, shiny globes to reveal chambers harboring gelatinous seeds. Then he’d let me have first pick of the slices for my sandwich — sometimes just lightly toasted bread, mayo, a bed of thin cucumber and tomato slices, or if I was feeling the slightest bit frisky, I’d throw caution to the wind and grind on a BLT.

Ah, the rapture!

Now that we live in the woods, we don’t get enough sun for a garden. Though we buy from roadside stands or farm markets, it’s never quite the same as tomatoes freshly picked, minutes old, grown in your own patch of dirt. I don’t think there’s any other fruit? vegetable? fruit? whose taste and quality varies so greatly between the supermarket and homegrown versions.

A homegrown tomato, or as close as you can get to homegrown, is, dare I say it — pure poetry.

Just listen to these names — Purple Haze, Marmande, Juliet, San Marzano, Box Car Willie, Aunt Ruby’s German Green. There’s even Moneymaker and Mortgage Lifter.

Somewhere, almost everywhere in the world, there is a tomato for all seasons, sensibilities, climates, and culinary uses, to satisfy the most discerning of palates. Without the tomato, there would be no salsa, no Bloody Marys, no barbecue sauce, no ketchup, no gazpacho, no sauce, paste, or puree for pasta. It would mean the demise of Italian cuisine (kill me, already)! Worst of all, I shudder to think, can barely dare to say it, there would be no tomato soup (voted as the writer’s favorite in my highly scientific poll).

*Cue in gratuitious gasping and weeping*

Oh, where, on God’s green earth, would I float my alphabets?

Precious pomodoro, forgive us our barbaric finger-pointing, and accept this small yet luminous token of our undying adoration. He is a poet from Chile, born on the continent of your origin.


by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes
light is
its juice
through the streets.

(Rest is here.)

If you wish to make amends and share your tomato love, check out the East Nashville Art Fest. They are sponsoring a Tomato Haiku Competition (deadline is Monday, August 4th). You are allowed to enter up to 5 haiku, so sip some sauce this weekend and start slicing up those metaphors.

See the world’s largest tomato here.

Beautiful examples of tomato art here from the Carmel TomatoFest (scroll down).

To hear the song, “Homegrown Tomatoes,” performed by two uber homegrown guitar pickin’ scruffy singers, click here.

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Well Read Child.


 “The tomato: a uniter, not a divider — bringing together
fruits and vegetables.”