"Perhaps the World Ends Here"
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.
~ Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is a Native American poet, born in 1951.
Nampeyo, the creator of the pot pictured in the photo, is a legendary Hopi-Tewa potter (1860-1942).
Made me think of a home I had where we always sat, rarely going anywhere else.ReplyDelete
Much traveling can be done while the kitchen table remains the centerpiece. :)Delete
A most evocative and thought provoking poem by a poet previously unknown to us.
Joy Harjo has written some powerful and wondrous poetry. Her view of life speaks to me.Delete
I remember a table, in a kitchen, on a ranch that my mother grew up in. It was oval and solid wood, painted white. The top was covered with linoleum, like the floor and had metal angle iron holding the linoleum tightly on the wood top.ReplyDelete
My first memory is being too small to reach anything on this huge table and, then, sitting on my mother's lap eating and listening to a combination of English and Italian being spoken by my grandmother,her sisters and brother. And then coming from each of their funerals to be comforted and eat again. It always smelled so good and there was always food. It was were everything happened. It was the center of life. At this table we did "sing with joy, with sorrow."
This poem reminds me of that table. I hadn't thought about it in years. Thanks.
Thanks so much for telling us about that table. They certainly do conjure memories. And many more memories to be made.Delete
Yes, there must be six or seven tables in our house, but it would be the kitchen table that had a real tale to tell if ever it decided to speak.ReplyDelete
I can easily imagine your table and its tales. Scintillating conversation to be sure!Delete
A beautifully written piece. Such a novel approach to recognizing the importance of a simple object in a world where consumerism has not yet made useful objects under appreciated. This was a real eye opener form me Teresa. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Isn't she good? It brings all that's of real substance into focus.Delete
I love that kitchen table poem, Teresa. It brought back memories of kitchen tables I have been sitting at, with my parents, siblings, lovers, husbands, children. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I find great comfort in a kitchen table. It's where I write and post. Thank you, DJan.Delete
I love Southwestern Indian pottery and that is a beautiful representative.ReplyDelete
Isn't that gorgeous? More than once, while living in Santa Fe, I walked by Andrea Fischer Pottery downtown and made a mess of her windows, drooling over the pottery.:) She had a piece by Nampeyo (authentic?) that I coveted. There are a lot of people doing similar work now, including her descendents, but the real deal would be pretty cool.Delete
Amen. May there be more praise of kitchen tables, in this age when they are increasingly being neglected.ReplyDelete
Families lose something of great value when they allow the kitchen table to lose its significance. To paraphrase: wherever even two are gathered, there is Love... :)Delete
This evoked many pleasnt memories for me. Love the line "Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their armsReplyDelete
around our children".
And the pot is so amazing!
Thanks for your visit today...it was so good to hear from you. I am still making my way back into the blog world. I finally made the decision to retire due health and will have more time now : )
Isn't that a wonderful line? I'm glad you've visited my site today and so glad you're back blogging.Delete
Take care of yourself and enjoy creating new posts! I look forward to them.
The kitchen table is the centre of the universe.ReplyDelete
I am also writing a post about the tables in my life, perhaps I'll use some of these images. Tables are special, their mythology, the meaning they have for those of us who still remember family meals and the sadness of today's disregard for tables altogether.
I look forward to your post, Friko. There is so much Life right there, around that table.Delete
Beautiful. A pleasure to read this, for both the eyes and soul.ReplyDelete
Nice combo, isn't it? From one SW soul to another... :)Delete
I haven't read any of Harjo's poems for a long time. Many years ago I saw her perform with music and language. Quite a performance. The pot is beautiful!ReplyDelete
I spent more time with her poetry, at the expense of her musical talents. I need to remedy that. I can well imagine what a fine performer she is. Thanks, Kate!Delete
Thank you for this. Even though I am temporarily without a kitchen table of my own, many, many hours were spent around our old round table, where our bodies, hearts and souls were nourished. I was the leader there, I mattered, and made it happen -fed my family the most fundamental nutrients. I will hold onto this when I feel like I have done nothing. Thank you.ReplyDelete
It sounds like you did much and no doubt still are, in other ways that matter, and will again around another table. Sometimes, we gather around the table in our minds and receive nutrition there. :)Delete
Dear Teresa, do you read the Minnesota author William Kent Krueger? In his latest book many important conversation between the main character--Cork O'Connor--and his family take place around the kitchen table. This book is the 12th in his series, which takes place in the Arrowhead area of the state.ReplyDelete
The book's title is "Trickster's Point." I think you would like its descriptions of nature and of the culture of the Ojibwa. Here's a quote from the book that I read and immediately thought of you. It is spoken by an Ojibwa shaman: "All life is one weaving, one design by the hand of the Creator, the Great Mystery. All life is connected, thread by thread. When one thread is cut,the others weaken." That's Oneness.
Dee, I am not familiar with this author, but will look into his work. Thank you for telling me about him.I had an immediate thought when I read the quote. Consider this: what if there aren't threads many, but only One thread connecting all life and nothing (no one) can be truly cut out of that thread. What if, when that appears to happen, the thread is actually strengthened in the Knowing that nothing can ever truly be removed from that continuous thread? Just a thought.... :)Delete
Dee, I Love that you share these things and keep me ever aware of our Oneness. I so appreciate your responses to my posts. Thank you for giving me something to consider....
Dear Teresa, and I love that you see one thread, almost like a thick cable, in which we are all entwined, strengthening one another. Peace.Delete
I like feeling the Strength of our connections, of our Oneness, and that the Source of it is never weakened.Delete
I also enjoy Harjo's writing. There's nothing like a kitchen table!
Hey Rubye Jack. Yes, that is one beautiful pot. So nice to hear from you and to see you're back blogging.Delete