American Life in Poetry: Column 166


Texas poet R. S. Gwynn is a master of the light touch.
Here he picks up on Gerard Manley Hopkins' sonnet
"Pied Beauty,"
which many of you will remember
from school, and offers us a picnic
instead of a sermon.
I hope you enjoy the feast!

Fried Beauty

Glory be to God for breaded things--
Catfish, steak finger, pork chop, chicken thigh,
Sliced green tomatoes, pots full to the brim
With french fries, fritters, life-float onion rings,
Hushpuppies, okra golden to the eye,
That in all oils, corn or canola, swim

Toward mastication's maw (O molared mouth!);
Whatever browns, is dumped to drain and dry
On paper towels' sleek translucent scrim,
These greasy, battered bounties of the South:
Eat them.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation
publisher of Poetry magazine.
It is also supported
by the Department of English at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2005 by R. S. Gwynn,
whose most recent book of poetry is "No Word of Farewell:

Poems 1970-2000," Story Line Press, 2001. Poem reprinted from
"Light: A Quarterly of Light Verse," No. 50, Autumn,
2005, by permission
of R. S. Gwynn. Introduction copyright
(c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation.
The introduction's
author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet
Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004- 2006.
We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.