Friday, February 27, 2009

POETRY FRIDAY: Pot Roast by Mark Strand

Food is important in my life—and my husband’s. Both Mike and I enjoy cooking. Everything we make is from scratch. Some of Mike’s specialties are homemade pasta and pizza, soup, salsa, stuffed squid, blueberry pancakes, and eggplant lasagna. Sometimes, preparing food puts me in a Zen-like mood. I often find it relaxing.

So much of our lives revolves around cooking and eating. We get together with friends for dinner. We celebrate holidays with family and traditional foods. Making and eating food involves our senses of taste and smell and touch and hearing. Sometimes the eating and preparing food may reawaken thoughts of the past—as it does in the following poem by Mark Strand. I first read the poem in 2001 in Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology, the book that was given to all of us educators who participated in the First Summer Poetry Institute for Teachers at Boston University.

The woman who submitted Pot Roast to the project as her favorite poem wrote: "Eating is something we all do. Sometimes the experience can be totally gratifying. Most of the time we barely remember doing it. This poem reminds me how powerful and evocative this daily ritual can be."

Pot Roast is one of my favorite poems too.

Pot Roast
By Mark Strand

I gaze upon the roast,

that is sliced and laid out

on my plateand over it

I spoon the juices

of carrot and onion.

And for once I do not regret

The passage of time.

I sit by a window

that looks

on the soot-stained brick of buildings

and do not care that I see

no living thing—not a bird,

not a branch in bloom,

not a soul movingin the rooms

behind the dark panes.

These days when there is little

to love or to praise

one could do worsethan yield

to the power of food.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Here’s a link to the website of The Favorite Poem Project.


At Wild Rose Reader, I have a macaronic verse that I wrote for Tricia’s Poetry Stretch this week. It’s a silly poem called The Exterminator’s List of Things to Do or A Typical Workday for Tom DeLay.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books.


jama said...

Absolutely delicious! I must make some pot roast this weekend . . .

Yat-Yee said...

Food is important to me as well, and so much of life's big moments are celebrated with the making and sharing of food. That's why I love this:

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I love a good pot roast. I have a wonderful recipe for pot roast that I found in my Leone's Italian Cookbook many years ago. BTW, it's a great book. It helped me learn how to cook--and to love cooking.


I, too, love that part of the poem. Many of my favorite childhood memories revolve around sharing holiday meals with my cousins at the home of my maternal grandparents and of picking apple and pears from their fruit trees and vegetables from their garden.

Unknown said...

What a great poem from Strand! Thanks!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I think it's a great poem too.

laurasalas said...

Oh, lovely. As a convenience-food girl who doesn't like to to cook, I am transported by this poem to a world where food is more than just silencing my growling stomach, giving me energy to play racquetball, or comforting me when I'm upset.

Love the ending!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I really enjoy cooking and baking when I have the time and am not rushed. My mind relaxes and I sometimes get ideas for writing or other things when my thoughts drift off to things other than chopping vegetables, rolling out dough, etc.