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Preparing a Meal

(All life, every encounter, each moment, pleasant, unpleasant, “pure” or “impure,” may be transformed into a spiritual event. All life is tantra.)

Early evening.
Empty house.

I hear nothing
but the smooth separation
of snow pea from stem,
knife rolling against board
in rhythm,
and the low hum of the refrigerator.

Among the small piles of vegetables,
onions, mushrooms, garlic,
and a small hill of fish,
I discern origin from end.

All to become a meal
designed for how it will feel on the fork,
attract the eye,
appeal to the soul,
sustain the body.

Another day, another meal,
and
I am grateful
for the destruction and death
which precedes creation.

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The Ox Butcher

There is a Taoist story about an ox butcher. I heard Gary Snyder tell it not long ago. I won’t repeat the story here, but I will retell it.

Cannelloni beans, about a cup,
Five or six diced garlic cloves
Chopped quickly with a knife so well fit,
So sharp it enjoys being picked up, used, cleaned
Then used again on a turkey wing
Too large for one meal, too much for flavoring.
The blade slips within the joint, between the bones,
Into the space,
Through and around
So the wing is divided
But what cutting has been done?
The beneficial is achieved by allowing things to do
what they do.
Force your blood to flow.
Force your heart to beat.
Force a wing apart.
What a mess.

Place it all into a clear pan, add some coarse salt.
Allow it to cook.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2008 in Food, philosophy, Poetry

 

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