Would That My Tongue


This is a post that was first published almost exactly two years ago, on Tuesday, December 30, 2008.  I reproduce it now in order to celebrate the gift of life of which food is the expression of love, among other things.  And especially since this blog has been created to be the repository of all things food.  May it be that you receive as much joy in viewing this post as I did in making each of these things, and reflecting upon them.

As we wrap up another year, it is time to reflect on the time that has passed. Time that has passed us by, and how we have passed it. Our energies and emotions invested in people, places and causes that we believe in; our wherewithal employed in the life of our bodies and minds. Would that it were possible to capture the outcomes of all those investments! Would that it were feasible for our tongues to utter the thoughts that arise from those reflections!

But since our tongues fail us, we are masters of our own creations– to think through the year (and our lives so far) that we are exiting, even as we move forward into another new year– to conjure up for ourselves the moments and events that we would like to bring to pass. May it be that each passing moment (or year) leaves us with a sense of well-being, nay, satisfaction at the least, and fulfillment at best. May it be with a sense of such optimism that we enter this new year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Nine.
The poem? Well, Tennyson is another man after my own heart. I see in this piece not just a wistful reflection of moments of pleasures from the past, but of a life-affirming yearning of more such pleasures to come– pleasures that the tongue cannot utter. How beautiful is that? Yet despite the limitations of the tongue, Tennyson is still so skilled at conveying that which we thought could not be uttered! Walt Whitman, the great American man of letters, says this of Tennyson:

Tennyson shows more than any poet I know (perhaps has been a warning to me) how much there is in finest verbalism. There is such a latent charm in mere words, cunning collocutions, and in the voice ringing them, which he has caught and brought out…

Break, Break, Break
Lord Alfred Tennyson

Break, break, break, On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!

And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman’s boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!

O, well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;

But O for the touch of a vanished hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!

But the tender grace of a day that is dead

Will never come back to me.

And there’s another purpose to our tongues: the ability to experience the tangible.  Which comes, many a time, in the form of glorious foods. Here are some home-made goodies that yours truly had the pleasure of creating and experiencing just this past week. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure!


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