Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Socrates himself

People Eating Lunch 

And thinking with each mouthful,
Or so it appears, seated as they are
At the coffee shop counter, biting
Into thick sandwiches, chewing
And deliberating carefully before taking
Another small sip of their sodas.

The gray-haired counterman
Taking an order has stopped to think
With a pencil paused over his pad,
The fellow in a blue baseball cap
And the woman wearing dark glasses
Are both thoroughly baffled
As they stir and stir their coffees.

If they should look up, they may see
Socrates himself bending over the grill
In a stained white apron and a hat
Made out of yesterday's newspaper,
Tossing an omelet philosophically,
In a small frying pan blackened with fire.

Welcome to the random food photography post. I was looking back at some of my food posts, and noticing that a few of them had Gwendolyn MacEwen poems attached to them, which makes perfect sense.

I like the Simic poem because it reminds us that those people doing mundane, ordinary work, may be living simultaneously in other realms. Even so, the couple, baffled by the behaviour of the man at the counter - they simply want their lunch. If you walked into the poem and told them a famous poet was at the grill, they'd still just want their lunch. It wouldn't register. Which is fine, actually. The poet or philosopher can go on quietly doing their work.

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