the greens of yesterday


    This is the week of found poetry for me, or perhaps I should call it delivered poetry: words given to me. Here’s a comment from my friend, Mitch, on one of my recent blog posts.

    hey milt:

    up above, you wrote “the chards of the past” . . .

    just wanted to point out that what you MEANT to write was “the SHARDS of the past.” glass that breaks is spelled “shards;” the vegetable is spelled “chard” (i.e. “swiss chard”).

    so, unless you were referring to the greens of yesterday, i think you meant “shards.”

    Here’s to the chards of the past — and to kind and friendly editors.

    the greens of yesterday
    (shards of chard)

    start by breaking the rainbow
    stems at the bottom of the leaves
    stack them like wood
    and chop them into dice
    toss them against
    the side of the sauté pan
    sizzling with acceptance
    as they slide through the olive oil
    be patient
    tenderness takes time

    lay the leaves flat
    one on top of the other
    like scrapbook pages
    and then roll them up
    tightly from one side
    the way Cuban women
    once rolled cigars
    while readers unwrapped
    novels to pass the time
    and share the stories

    slice the leaves
    across the rolls
    chiffonade is the name
    which must have a story of its own
    the chard segments fall
    first in tiny spirals
    and then unravel
    like a good story falling
    into layers of meaning
    shards of suggestion
    on the cutting board
    like unread tea leaves

    when the chard first
    hits the pan it makes
    a sound somewhere between
    applause and anticipation
    the moisture evaporates
    shrinking the size of the leaves
    distilling flavors
    memory reduced to essentials
    to how we want to remember
    to what we want
    to carry away with us
    when we leave the table.



    1. I hope I can still be included in the ranks of kind and friendly (if unemployed) editors if I point out that the leaf-slicing technique described is actually “chiffonade” rather than “julienne.”

      I do like the found poetry.

    2. well, you have done it again: made my day. if not the week. . . & you’ve got “best poem of the month” so far, will letcha know in december if you take the november pennant. . .

      thanks, as always,

    3. Hi! Cool poem… I am particularly amused because I just made the same correction in a novel I was reading – the author referred to “chards of glass”. I seem to find at least one error per book these days – the kind that the spell checker accepts because it is a word and it is spelled right, but it is the wrong word.

      My all time personal favorite comes from the Boston Globe, where I once read a sentence stating that someone arrived “on queue” instead of “on cue”.

      Keep up the great writing – you make me think.

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