Sunday, March 22, 2015

Poetry Sunday

This past Tuesday we celebrated Saint Patrick's Day, when everyone celebrates all things Irish ... especially beer, leprechauns, and shamrocks. But every bit as much a part of the Irish as those things is the humble potato. It was, after all, the six-year potato famine that began in 1845 that killed more than a million people in Ireland and forced another million to flee the country - most of them to America, where they became the despised minority of the day (Google "No Irish Need Apply" if you doubt me*). And so, for this week's Poetry Sunday offering, we offer an homage to - the potato ...

Ode to the Potato
by Barbara Hamby

"They eat a lot of French fries here," my mother
   announces after a week in Paris, and she's right,
not only about les pommes frites but the celestial tuber
   in all its forms: rotie, purée, not to mention
au gratin or boiled and oiled in la salade niçoise.
   Batata edulis discovered by gold-mad conquistadors
in the West Indies, and only a 100 years later
   in The Merry Wives of Windsor Falstaff cries,
"Let the skie raine Potatoes," for what would we be
   without you—lost in a sea of fried turnips,
mashed beets, roasted parsnips? Mi corazón, mon coeur,
   my core is not the heart but the stomach, tuber
of the body, its hollow stem the throat and esophagus,
   leafing out to the nose and eyes and mouth. Hail
the conquering spud, all its names marvelous: Solanum
   tuberosum, Igname, Caribe, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold.
When you turned black, Ireland mourned. O Mr. Potato Head**,
   how many deals can a man make before he stops being
small potatoes? How many men can a woman drop
   like a hot potato? Eat it cooked or raw like an apple
with salt of the earth, apple of the earth, pomme de terre.
   Tuber, tuber burning bright in a kingdom without light,
deep within the earth where the Incan potato gods rule,
   forging their golden orbs for the world's ravening gorge.

Have a good day. Enjoy your potatoes, whether mashed, fried, french-fried, home-fried, pan-fried, boiled, au gratin, hash-browned, or whatever. They're yummy.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* Peggy, this is an oblique answer to the question you asked in your comment on my St Patrick's Day post.

** Yes, there are also lots of cartoons about Mr Potato Head, who has been featured on Cartoon Saturday several times, such as here and here.


Hell Hound said...

A poem about taters is about as unusual as it gets.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I like a baked potato with sea salt and butter. French fries originally came from Belgium.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Raw potatoes? Begorrah!

Mike said...

It's been awhile since I've munched on a slice of raw potato.

And this reminds me of a joke I've seen recently because of St. Pattys day.

How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman? ... None.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

How about sweet potato chips?

allenwoodhaven said...

Ah, potatoes. What a wonderful food! I don't think I've ever not liked a way to prepare them, though I've never had one raw. And don't forget their role in politics: Dan Quayle...