Grace Paley (1922-2007)

Yesterday afternoon I met a few of my Artist Way friends for pie in Port Townsend, at Hillbottom Pie, a little cafe on Tyler street. For dessert, I ordered strawberry-rhubarb pie, with ice cream. It was delicious. It made me think of my cousin Joan, who served us strawberry-rhubarb pie, warm from the oven, when I took my mother to visit just before Memorial Day, 2014. It made me think of the Dryad cemetery, which my mother and I also visited that day, and how, when Mom walked across the wet grass to put the flowers on the graves, I worried because she had fallen in the night. It made me think of this poem, by one of my favorite writers, Grace Paley.

What did you do today instead of writing a poem? Could you write a poem about that? 

THE POET’S OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead    it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft    a poem would have some
distance to go    days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it    many friends
will say    why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems

because of unreportable
sadnesses I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership    I do not
want to wait a week    a year    a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

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2 thoughts on “Grace Paley (1922-2007)

  1. I loved the day at Hillbottom and my quick visit with Sara in her new picket fence garden at the Victorian house where her mother-in-law Mary McQuillen lived until age 74 when she died too young. I loved the gifts I was able to buy at a shop near Hillbottom Pie, and I loved my pecan pie. And I loved the memories of your strawberry rhubard pie brought to mind – ever the poet in thought and word – so lovely – and I didn’t know I loved Grace Paley poetry. Thank you for all of that and taking us through 12 + weeks of The Artist’s Way with Julia Cameron.

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