Language was opening me up in ways I couldn’t explain and I assumed it was part of the apprenticeship of a poet. (Jimmy Santiago Baca, A Place to Stand)
c.1300, from O.Fr. aprentiz “someone learning” (13c.), from aprendre (Mod.Fr. apprendre ) “to learn, teach,” contracted from L. apprehendere (see apprehend). Aphetic form prentice was long more usual in English. The verb is first attested 1630s. (www.dictionary.com)
I learned how to be a cook by watching
and listening to those whose hands
were already calloused before
I ever picked up a kitchen knife.
Now I have calluses of my own.
I learned how to be a poet by reading
and listening to those whose hearts
were already broken open before
I ever chased down a metaphor.
Now I have a hunger for words.
I’m three weeks away from my last shift in
the kitchen and the calluses
are already fading, peeling off, though
I am still making dinner at home.
Cooking is in my blood.
I’m five days away from my last writing,
though my heart has been opened
up already, I have fallen private,
forgetting to write out loud for friends
who gather like dinner guests.
I teach for a living, though my calling
is to learn, to apprentice,
to soak up smells and sounds, words and wonders,
to come to table and tablet that
I might taste and see what is good.