The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

Pot Roast
By Mark Strand

I gaze upon the roast,
that is sliced and laid out
on my plate,
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
the passage of time.

I sit by a window
that looks
on the soot-stained brick of buildings
and do not care that I see
no living thing -- not a bird,
not a branch in bloom,
not a soul moving
in the rooms
behind the dark panes.
These days when there is little
to love or to praise
one could do worse
than yield
to the power of food.
So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork
and I eat.


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, on the primal American holiday of Thanksgiving, in which Robert Pinsky writes, "The ceremonious gathering to eat sumptuous food is a basic ritual, involving memory and family or communal ties...Strand's New Selected Poems includes an evocation of food's deep meanings, appropriate to the holiday, though the dish is not turkey." I am really not a roast turkey fan -- for me Thanksgiving is all about the sweet potatoes and carrot souffle and fruit and nuts -- so this works for me, even though I don't eat red meat!

After Daniel got back from volunteering at Hebrew school, we met my in-laws at Catoctin Mountain National Park, where we hiked to the Blue Ridge Summit and Hog Rock overlooks. I was afraid the trees would already be nearly bare so late in the season, but there were lots of yellow and orange leaves and the views of the mountains were gorgeous! Then we went to the Emmitsburg Grotto of Lourdes, one of the prettiest shrines I've seen. It was nearly deserted and cool by the spring, where I took a vial of water as a souvenir. And since we were up by the Pennsylvania border, we stopped at Candyland and got some Mary Janes and Bit-o-Honeys to take home.

Then we went out to dinner at the Cozy Inn in Thurmont, which has played host to several US presidents and their Shangri-La/Camp David staffs. They have a big seafood buffet, though I'd rate the homemade soups, breads and pies considerably more highly than the salmon ot shrimp. But the massive dessert buffet is amazing, and the evening was further enlivened not only by the Christmas displays around the historic caboose, but by the large group of costumed Civil War reenactors apparently having a formal ball. The clothing was very elegant, not in-the-trenches. The restaurant has a little Camp David museum, too.

The view from Catoctin Mountain's Hog Rock.

I could not invent these colors if I tried.

And from the Blue Ridge Summit overlooking a different valley.

The boys on a rock at the overlook.

The trees high on the mountain, mostly tulip poplar and maple, are spectacular shades of yellow.

The leaves are growing sparse this late in the season.

But there's some marvelous flame orange-red on the maples, too.

Here are Clair and Cinda enjoying the view.

There are examples of local wildlife on display at the visitor center.

On chilly days like this one, visitors are treated to a fire.

We missed Maryland losing to Florida State, and Duke losing to Notre Dame which I care much less about. We're now sort of watching Clemson play Boston College. Thanks so much people who posted, linked to or wrote me about the Doctor Who Children in Need special...I think I enjoyed the Confidential, with Tennant and Davies as squeeing fanboys, as much as I enjoyed the Five and Ten!

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