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Writing poetry, reading poetry, we are invited to join with others in celebrating life, even the ordinary, daily pleasures. Here the Seattle poet and physician Peter Pereira offers us a simple meal.

A Pot of Red Lentils

simmers on the kitchen stove.

All afternoon dense kernels

surrender to the fertile

juices, their tender bellies

swelling with delight.

In the yard we plant

rhubarb, cauliflower, and artichokes,

cupping wet earth over tubers,

our labor the germ

of later sustenance and renewal.

Across the field the sound of a baby crying as we carry in the last carrots, whorls of butter lettuce, a basket of red potatoes.

I want to remember us this way —

late September sun streaming through

the window, bread loaves and golden

bunches of grapes on the table,

spoonfuls of hot soup rising

to our lips, filling us

with what endures.


Reprinted from Saying the World, 2003, by permission of Copper Canyon Press. Copyright 2003 by Peter Pereira. This weekly column is supported by the Poetry Foundation, the Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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