7.20.2010

The World Begins at the Kitchen Table

As most of you know I have posted many, many poems on this blog. I am always on the hunt for new poems to use with my writing, writing with adults, or writing with my students. I am always surprised when I discover poems by my favorite poets that I had never read. Since I often use the theme of tables on this blog, I was drawn to the following poem. While working with adult writers today I had them visualize pieces of furniture that held memories for them. I then shared this poem:


Perhaps the World Ends Here   
by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

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