Poem or Pie

by | Sunday, April 25, 2010

I recently read the following poem by Grace Paley and just had to write a response. Anyway, here’s the original poem:

The Poet’s Occasional Alternative
by Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead     it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft     a poem would have had some
distance to go     days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it     many friends
will say     why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems

because of unreportable
sadness I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership     I do not
want to wait a week     a year     a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

And here’s my response (this has been edited after it was first posted)

Poem or Pie
by Punya Mishra

I just read this poem
about a poet who chose to
bake a pie,
than write a poem!

It was weird, since in my hands
was a poem, not a slice of pie!

Was this the poem
That was not written?

And where was the pie?
Its existence, of course, had to be inferred,
assumed, taken at face value…

which made me question
whether that pie ever really

having caught one
possible contradiction
I doubted everything.

I read this poem to my daughter
Who was more forgiving
maybe, she said, they baked
a pie AND wrote a poem

I wasn’t buying that!
Because in my heart I knew
that poets will do anything
lie, steal, stab and kill
to get the right slant on an idea

To get the right hook
that will make the reader smile
and pull them in to

Wallow in the here-nowness
Of baking a pie, and poking fun
At airy-fairyness of poetry
(in a poem no less). Who could resist

But the truth is
I know it, and you do too,
that some days, a poem beats a pie

Though it is cute, in a self-deprecating
humble kind of way,
to claim the reverse.

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  1. Punya Mishra

    Thanks Lindi. Your comment made my day! ~ punya

  2. Lindi

    I went looking for Grace’s pie poem for Poem-in-your-pocket day and found your fabulous response. Thank you — it’s a good thing I have 2 pockets!

  3. nora

    And that is what she meant. And she did bake a pie.
    the daughter



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