Wednesday, May 08, 2013 • 10:30 AM Comments (6)

At the Table

posted by Susan Stinson

Last Friday night, I went out to eat at Bela in Northampton. I got there early on my trike, so I leaned on it and watched from a little way down the sidewalk as people went in. Bela is a small, warm vegetarian restaurant with lovely food, and I’ve had some really gorgeous moments there. (For instance, my friend Sally Bellerose took me out there to celebrate when my first novel was accepted for publication in the mid-nineties.) Lingering on the sidewalk to wait for my companions was made even more sweet than gathering for a good meal at the end of a very rough week would usually be because there was a poem I had written hanging on the front door.

It’s a poem about a garden, some marigolds, sunflowers, tomatoes, basil, kale, birds and a donkey. The garden belongs to my companions, who start seedlings in February and have just been finishing a new fence to try to keep bears and rabbits out. I get to weed a little every now and then. The warm dirt and the scents on my fingers as I do that are so sensual and elemental that they often move me to poetry. Often enough, maybe, to give the impression that I work more in the garden than I actually do.

Forty-odd restaurants, bakeries, ice cream parlors and bars are currently displaying poems by local poets as part of the Nourish the Body/Nourish the Soul project organized by Rich Michelson, Northampton’s Poet Laureate. It is a rare and specific pleasure to get to stroll through the streets of the town where I live, browsing poetry hung in so many windows. It brings me such a sense of celebration and wholeness to have one of my poems among them, to have the work of my heart be a part of the daily lives of neighbors and people passing through. It is a writer’s dream, so strangely elusive, so satisfying when reached.

Bela had given the generous gift of a meal in exchange for the poem. So we ate, my hard-working companions and I. The server’s face lit up when I told him that the poem on the door was mine. “It’s a good poem,” he said.

He brought us beautiful food: a salad with sweet peas, spicy tofu with collards in red curry sauce, rice noodles with gorgonzola and asparagus. We drank beer we had brought from chilled glasses, and I got to watch a few people, waiting, reading my poem. The time, work, patience, inspiration, commerce and love that had gone into the garden, the poem and the meal were palpable at the table.

Then, we hurried up the street to the Parlor Room to hear cellist and singer Ben Sollee, performing with percussionist Jordon Ellis. They were doing about a third of their tour on bikes, Ben with his cello strapped on and Jordon pulling a trailer full of gear. Solee is influenced by bluegrass, R&B and his own engaged sensibility. It had, it had been a hard week, and it was a perfect moment to hear his songs “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Panning for Gold,” in which God says, “Son, I used to know where I put things, I used to know.”

When Jordon got up from banging and brushing his box and drum to play the body and strings of the cello with his sticks while Ben played, too, we were invited to hear a song rising from having pedaled forty miles and hit a groove. I heard it. I heard movement. I heard possibility and life.

Here’s the poem:

Garden

My fingers are scented

from pushing through marigolds

to reach the tomatoes

and stripping flowering basil

of puckered leaves.

Birds thrash the air

on sharp paths to the sunflowers.

It’s a tall year for corn.

The donkey is

insisting, strenuously, on breakfast.

I take one leaf of kale

– early, bitter, lush–

to eat in the valley,

once you drive me home.

Photos top to bottom:

Moffat the donkey, by Susan Stinson

Susan Stinson in front of Bela and her poem, by Jeep Wheat

Comments (6)
Post a Comment

Most of the poems will be up at eateries all over Northampton through May 15.

Posted by Susan Stinson on 5.8.13 at 12:32

Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so long. obat asma

Posted by obat asma on 9.7.14 at 4:50

I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. 3 Tips Merencanakan Interior pada Model Rumah Minimalis

Posted by selmoner on 9.14.14 at 9:03

I guess this is your best expericnces and you have very happy that time. I also want to go to the best place of the world there i can feel free from all . And i can enjoy full of my life with joy and wonderning here and there.

But right now i can not do this just because of money and for this i am working in a real estate service company that gives me a good packages and my work is i am a sales head of my department and right now i am very happy . And i will guess after some time i will go for my trip so gues please give me bless for my this trip.

Can you share a youtube video ?

Your last line very wonderful Susan Stinson.

Thanks for sharing your life moments with us.

Posted by Nandkishor on 9.23.14 at 23:45

I guess this is your best expericnces and you have very happy that time. I also want to go to the best place of the world there i can feel free from all . And i can enjoy full of my life with joy and wonderning here and there candy crush saga for pc play the life like a game.

Posted by Simonsgs on 10.1.14 at 21:24

Thanks for informations

obat tradisional penyakit asam urat

Posted by Diding on 10.10.14 at 20:36
Comment:

Name:

Password:

New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
keyword:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
« Most Recent Post
« Permalink
Print Email RSS feed

Photo Galleries
Archives
MAY 2013
S M T W T F S
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Antigone in Boston
At the Table
Links
Copyright © 2014 by The Valley Advocate.