Monday, July 26, 2010

Dinner Date

Poem of the Day:
"A Marriage in the Dolomites" by D. Nurkse
Poetry, June 2009

By choice, I ate dinner alone tonight. It was an act of exclusion that I savored; I love to eat food while watching a great sitcom -- tonight's choice was 'Parks and Recreation' starring the hilarious Amy Poehler -- and to indulge in sweet, sour, laughs.

You can indulge too: I ate a salmon burger with goat cheese and mustard, rice with carrots, and cherries -- 20 of them -- for dessert.

Please, let the slobbering continue. Here is Nurkse's poem in entirety:

A Marriage in the Dolomites

We communicated by cheeses,
unwrapping them gingerly,
parting the crust with a fork,
tasting dew, must, salt,
raising an eyebrow,

or we let chianti talk for us,
rolling it in the glass,
staring—it was dark and shiny
as the pupil, and stared back—
or we undressed each other;

we took long walks hand in hand
in the vineyards, the pastures,
resenting each other bitterly
for our happiness that excluded us
as surely as the world did,
mountain after mountain.

Cheese. Italian wine. Italian mountain ranges. What is not delectable about this poem? Well, perhaps Nurkse's conclusion. The savory becomes sour as his speaker realizes that his indulgence has turned to abandonment, abandonment of social regard for any relationships outside that which he shares with his loved one. The two walk through "vineyards...pastures" (line 12), places devoid of people, as Nurkse sets this scene of loneliness, broken up only by the food, so sweet and delicious, that spots the landscape.

The final line of the poem portrays a feeling of entrapment: "mountain after mountain," as if the mountains build upon one another, fencing in the speaker. He is trapped, "excluded" by happiness. It's a catch-22 of sorts.

Mine was only one dinner date...just one dinner date with myself. No empty fields to boast of -- or cry of? -- yet.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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