Poetry Friday: Everybody Made Soups by Lisa Coffman

Today’s Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Carol’s Corner .

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The holiday season has come to an end, but remnants of the many festive meals prepared remain.  We have a ham hock for split pea soup, chicken carcasses for colds and flu warrior soup, and beef bones for broth to make the dogs in our life happy.  I love the way the kitchen  fills with steam when soup making, and how the  warm aromas of soupy herbs (those gorgeous thyme, rosemary, and sage I harvested over the summer) permeate every corner of the house.

I’ll be thinking of our family at the holiday table as I make these soups: the conversations and laughter, the recounting of memories and the laying out of new plans, and the candles waning as we lingered over empty plates, reluctant to break the mood.

The family has scattered now – each member back to their every day life.  I’ll be thinking of them all while I go about soup making.

Everybody Made Soups by Lisa Coffman

After it all, the events of the holidays,
the dinner tables passing like great ships,
everybody made soups for a while.
Cooked and cooked until the broth kept
the story of the onion, the weeping meat.
It was over, the year was spent, the new one
had yet to make its demands on us,
each day lay in the dark like a folded letter.
Then out of it all we made one final thing
out of the bounty that had not always filled us,
out of the ruined cathedral carcass of the turkey,
the limp celery chopped back into plenty,
the fish head, the spine. Out of the rejected,
the passed over, never the object of love.
It was as if all the pageantry had been for this:
the quiet after, the simmered light,
the soothing shapes our mouths made as we tasted.

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Everybody Made Soups by Lisa Coffman

  1. The soup is the best part! Although, I thought I made a superb turkey soup. I made it just the way I liked it when I ate meat. But, I don’t eat meat anymore so I made the soup for my family. My son informed me that he doesn’t like mashed potato in the soup (to make it creamy). He likes clear broth soup. Why, oh why don’t they think to tell us these things earlier in time?!

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  2. I don’t especially like soup, nor do I like to cook, but this poem makes me so hungry, for life’s simple goodnesses. The choice of details is absolutely perfect!

    On a completely different note, I read Dan Gemeinhart’s COURAGE

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  3. darn it, I accidentally hit Close! Anyway, I read Gemeinhart’s, SOME KIND OF COURAGE, which you recommended to me, to two sixth grade classes. They LOVED it! And many have gone on to read other books by him! Thank you so much! I miss your teaching stories!

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    1. I’m so glad your kids loved Some Kind of Courage, Carol. I miss reading YA books, actually, although I am enjoying catching up on more age appropriate reading, I must say :). Happy New Year!

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  4. I love soup and after reading this poem, I love it even more! What a beautiful celebration of the “quiet after.” Thanks for sharing this poem today. Inspired by Linda, I’m going to print it out and affix it to my fridge!

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  5. We didn’t have any hocks or carcasses, but we DO have a pot of broccoli soup in the fridge. I think it fits the metaphor — you grind up the tough parts (the stems) to add creamy value to the juicy parts (the tops). It wouldn’t be as good a soup without the tough stuff. And how cathartic to change the tough to something better. Something useful.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this Lisa. I really like the imagery you use in this poem. As a lover of soup and cooking in general, I like how you captured the journey of the food for the holidays. That sounds like something I’d hear in a college class but I mean it. I can also see how this poem can be a rediscovery of life after an event. Perhaps I’m putting my own baggage on that meaning but your work really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Oh, Tara! I’m a bit late getting around, but just put chicken in the crock pot for tonight’s chicken & rice soup. I could live on soup all winter long!
    Your shared poem has this lovely line:
    “ the quiet after, the simmered light,“
    Definitely adding this poem to my “light” collection for 2020! Happy New Year! I’ll raise my soup bowl to yours.

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