10 List

Our tulip magnolia in full glory
This week, with my freshmen, we read two of Pablo Neruda's "Odes," celebrations of the ordinary and wonderful. Beautiful, shining poems about enjoying the little things in life. Wonderful celebrations of gratitude.

Here are some of the things I would consider writing odes about:
1. That I got to speak to three out of four of my bridesmaids on the phone this week, even though they are all far far away. One called me from the Sea of Cortez!
2. Getting to spend quality time with a friend who I haven't been able to spend quality time with in way too long.
3. Pickled onions.
4. Sunshine! And a weekend forecast that promises more.
5. How my chickens run to me every time I go outside, asking for treats and some affection. They are such silly girls.
6. Being able to work from home today.
7. Seeing a bald eagle swoop over the river and into the forest while hiking near my house last week.
8. Spying on my fiance while he builds me a St. Johns-bridge-inspired archway/gate outside in the side yard (where the chickens, ducks, and duck pond will live someday).
9. Spring sunsets with clouds wreathing Forest Park.
10. Dandelions.
One of our bees enjoys a dandelion

Ode To an Artichoke by Pablo Neruda
The artichoke
of delicate heart
in its battle-dress, builds
its minimal cupola;
in its scallop of
Around it,
demoniac vegetables
bristle their thicknesses,
tendrils and belfries,
the bulb's agitations;
while under the subsoil
the carrot
sleeps sound in its
rusty mustaches.
Runner and filaments
bleach in the vineyards,
whereon rise the vines.
The sedulous cabbage
arranges its petticoats;
sweetens a world;
and the artichoke
dulcetly there in a gardenplot,
armed for a skirmish,
goes proud
in its pomegranate
Till, on a day,
each by the other,
the artichoke moves
to its dream
of a market place
in the big willow
a battle formation.
Most warlike
of defilades-
with men
in the market stalls,
white shirts
in the soup-greens,
artichoke field marshals,
close-order conclaves,
commands, detonations,
and voices,
a crashing of crate staves.

with her hamper
make trial
of an artichoke:
she reflects, she examines,
she candles them up to the light like an egg,
never flinching;
she bargains,
she tumbles her prize
in a market bag
among shoes and a
cabbage head,
a bottle
of vinegar; is back
in her kitchen.
The artichoke drowns in a pot.

So you have it:
a vegetable, armed,
a profession
(call it an artichoke)
whose end
is millennial.
We taste of that
dismembering scale after scale.
We eat of a halcyon paste:
it is green at the artichoke heart.

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