Celebrating Life*

September 11, 2013


Writing poetry, reading poetry, we are invited to join with others in celebrating life, even the ordinary, daily pleasures. Here the Seattle poet and physician, Peter Pereira, offer us a simple meal. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

A Pot of Red Lentils 

simmers on the kitchen stove.
All afternoon dense kernels
surrender to the fertile
juices, their tender bellies
swelling with delight.

In the yard we plant
rhubarb, cauliflower, and artichokes,
cupping wet earth over tubers,
our labor the germ
of later sustenance and renewal.

Across the field the sound of a baby crying
as we carry in the last carrots,
whorls of butter lettuce,
a basket of red potatoes.

I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from Saying the World, 2003, by permission of Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2003 by Peter Pereira. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. 

*I think there’s no better way to move ahead in life than to appreciate the simplest of daily pleasures. On the anniversary of 9/11, I’m grateful for these continued simple pleasures and I wish for you a life full of celebrations of all kinds.

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