Thursday, November 24, 2005


Ice water. Two silver knives to work through the flour
and shortening, add salt. It is an old art. Do not work
late into the night, with sleep nipping at your sleeves,
you will fall off, wake up at three a.m. to a room full
of smoke, two black disks in the oven, bad smell. Do
not think about business, or the wave of darkness
spreading through the Arts, do not think about
depression looming on the horizon or the rhetoric
and nonsense our leaders toss into its mouth, or the
prospect of revolution in America. Zen. Concentrate
on the art of pie. It is an old art. Ingredients spread
through the house like a layer of snow, later people
say: O, Pie. Pie. We love pie. It is a good art. No one
will say, Make this pie with only one silver knife, or
no ice, or make it with chalk instead of flour. Fill pie
with ingredients at hand, cans of things, fresh fruit,
cheese. Add it to a feast. Eat leftovers for breakfast the
next day, the celebration begins again, pie filling the
recesses of the body, exhilaration. Pie, it is an old art.
if we lose it, infants will wither in their mothers’
stomachs, writhe at sunken nipples, men will lose
direction, US Steel will manufacture rubber and the
pillars of society will flop around like spangles on a
half-mast flag. Pie. The planets are lined up—Saturn,
Uranus, Mars, Jupiter pull earthquakes, pull poison
from beneath the surface. Pie, cut through the mix
gently, roll out on a layer of wood and flour, pie. Flute
the edges, pour in apples and cinnamon and spices.
Pie. Zen. Concentrate on the art of pie. The rites of
passage pull us through the gates of depression and
war. We shall make pie. Cannot resist. We shall
celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July;
holidays shall find us traversing the continent in
search of heritage. No one makes pie like Mother
does. Pie. No one says one pie should represent all
pies. Pie is like a thumb print. Some are sour. Pie is
silent, making only a light simmering noise as it bakes
in the oven. It spreads scent gently into our hearts.
There is ceremony as pie is lifted out of the heat. They
gather. O, Pie. The clutter is swept away, space
around pie is brought to sharp focus. Light pours
down on pie. Concentrate. The art of pie is an old one.
Try to imagine life without it. Like the unveiling of a
great painting, breaking a champagne bottle over the
bow of a ship going off to sea, the ceremony as a
cornerstone is laid, pie. Do not roll the crust too thick,
roll gently or the center will unfurl, rub extra flour on
the rolling pin every fourth stroke, remember these
things. Create pie often so the art is not lost. Do not
forget temperature. Cold is essential, then heat. You
must have an oven, cannot make pie over an open fire
or in a barbecue pit. Be firm with those who insist pie
can be made in a crockpot or on the back window
ledge of a Pontiac left out in August sunlight.
the rules of pie.

Sing a song of six pence/ A pocket full of rye/ Four
and twenty black birds/ Baked in a pie./ When the
pie was opened/ The birds began to sing—

©1978, Susan Bright

First published in Tirades And Evidence Of Grace available from Plain View Press


Enjoy your Thanksgiving


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

what an ending. (the indian)

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and isn't this a dainty thought to share on Thanksgiving.

Loved the piece on pie. Ymmm.

A very good year, 2005, for this whole list, blessed with thoughts from one another.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Frances Morey

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The X piece is terriffic as is the Pie piece. Both are silmple and straight forward and still say so much.

Thanks for posting them.

8:19 AM  

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