Friday, February 12, 2010


I heard this on The Splendid Table on NPR last week. I'm not really much of a poetry person, but when Elizabeth Alexander was reading her poem Butter aloud, it was so evocative that it has stayed in my head for days.

Since I've made reference to it in various conversations probably 10 times in the last week, I thought I'd post it here for anyone to admire. Don't sue me, Ms. Alexander. I steal because I love.

Butter by Elizabeth Alexander

My mother loves butter more than I do,
more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter melting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite
historical revision, despite
our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love listening to the Splendid Table.