O CHEESE

I’m really enjoying Donald Hall’s poetry, though I haven’t shared much on here. He writes almost as if he is painting still life on canvas. He takes objects or people or creatures, and writes about them, rather than writing about feelings or emotions. It’s a very interesting perspective.

 

O CHEESE

 

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh

Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;

the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton

that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.

 

O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses

that weep continually because they know they will die.

O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses

fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.

 

Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;

Pont l’Eveque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler

decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;

and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.

 

O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses

that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.

O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,

eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.

 

Reblochon openly sexual; Caephilly like pine trees, small

at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; Caprice des Dieux

eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;

and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.

 

O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,

O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,

O cheeses that keep you to your own nature, like a lucky couple,

this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

 

–Donald Hall, Old and New Poems

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