|Maureen Ryan Griffin|
Most of us learned about odes when we were in school. Remember the Ode to a Grecian Urn by Keats? He was famous for five odes he wrote at the time, but Ode on a Grecian Urn has become the best known.
I've paid little attention to odes in my own writing, but Maureen asked us to write an ode to a favorite food.
I composed this in class so I didn't have much time to think about it. In my memory of what I used to enjoy and I don't get to eat anymore, I came up with fresh made butter. I buy butter in the grocery store, but it is nothing like homemade butter that my mother made. All the products we buy today have chemicals in them and they have artificial flavorings to fool us into liking them.
I miss the real thing and the memories of eating it came to me in this poem.
The title of the poem I began in the writing class is Ode to Real Butter. Of course over time I have revised and polished it. When the NC Poetry Society 2015 contest for light verse opened I decided to send this poem and see how it would be received. I didn't place, but received an Honorable Mention and the poem has been published in Pinesong an annual anthology of the NC Poetry Society which was founded in 1932.
ODE TO REAL BUTTER by Glenda Council Beall
No margarine or simulated spread
can match your taste, dissolving on my tongue,
spread over crisp hard rolls,
seeping into crannies of my English muffins,
melting into morning grits.
When I was a kid, you came like magic,
from milk fresh-squeezed from Jerseys,
skimmed cream, shaken in a quart jar.
Mother sang, come butter, come butter, come
butter come. Papa’s at the gate with a hot pancake.
Mother crooned, churned, and I knew
that soon the soft spread, washed
and salted, would appear in a crock,
would saturate hot biscuits on my plate.
Oh, Butter, you glow in melting glory
on my cornbread, softening my pancakes,
mixing with my sugar-free syrup.
I weep with longing for you, Butter.
You are a star. My taste buds adore you,
like a teenage girl adores that Bieber boy
with his browned - butter hair.
-------from Pinesong, Awards 2015
I want to mention Pat Daharsh, a reader of this blog, who won first place in the Haiku contest and is published also in Pinesong. Pat has been winning competitions in national and international contests for years. Congratulations, Pat.