I wrote this poem in November 2016 for Jessica Alberg, Lily Bowen, Rebecca Endres, Leslie King, Armand Levy, Thomas Moody, Brendan Smith, Keri Smith, Sean Speers, and Virginia Valenzuela — the participants in my poetry writing workshop. We had two standing jokes that are reflected in the poem. One was the observation that almost any poem can end with the sentence “This poem is against war.” A second joke was based on an essay in a prestigious literary quarterly alleging that the ideal end-word for a poem is “paradise.” The essayist may have argued that all poems ends with “paradise,” although the only example given was Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan.”

The way to Daddy’s heart
is through his love
of asparagus
white asparagus
pickled chilled
with a stack of corned beef
and pastrami
and brown mustard
and pickles.

The way to Daddy’s heart
is through his love
of melons
sugar melons
water melon
scents of summer
and poems that end
with the word “paradise.”

The way to Daddy’s heart
is through his love
of gin and vermouth
or a sly grin a deep truth
with a twist of lemon
olives or onions
at the end of the day
like a poem that ends
with the universal last line
of all poems:
“This poem is against war.”

Stacey & DL La Grenoulle 2016 David Lehman has taught in the New School’s MFA Writing Program since its inception in 1996. His new book of poetry is “Poems in the Manner Of,” coming from Scribner in March 2017.

featured image via Beau Colburn on Flickr.

Comments are closed.