By Danez Smith
(Excerpt from Poetry Magazine January 2016)
no need for geography
now that we’re safe everywhere.
point to whatever you please
& call it church, home, or sweet love.
paradise is a world where everything
is a sanctuary & nothing is a gun.
here, if it grows it knows its place
in history. yesterday, a poplar
told me of old forest
heavy with fruits I’d call uncle
bursting red pulp & set afire,
harvest of dark wind chimes.
after I fell from its limb
it kissed sap into my wound.
do you know what it’s like to live
someplace that loves you back?
Yes, 24 inches of snow on April 15 is a bit extreme for even the heartiest of Minnesotans, but sometimes the places that love us most, must show us tough love too. Truth be told, I have had a wonderful weekend. I wish all of you that live in warm places could experience the fun of a spring snowstorm like yesterday and today. Even though it feels like February, I know this snow won’t last long and spring is just a week or two away.
I spent the last two days with a perfect companion for this kind of unexpected weather. My friend’s love of snow is so completely infectious that I had no choice but to join her in celebration. We didn’t let the weather alter our plans. We ventured out Saturday morning and got where we needed to be in the midst of the worst of it and then got home mid afternoon to make a delicious batch of potato, leek, ham soup. As the snow piled up and winds howled last evening, we feasted on soup, had a glass of wine, (well maybe two), and watched a movie while the blizzard raged.
We awoke to a thick blanket of fresh snow, the most of our entire winter! This is a record-setting snow storm in St. Paul and Minneapolis for April and is not normal for this time of year. Today’s high temperature is 30 degrees below normal. However, one of the refreshing things about a snow storm, any time of year, is it gives you an opportunity for a sense of achievement. My friend and I got up early this morning, made a hearty breakfast (apple-bacon-pannenkoeken) and then shoveled her steps, used the snowblower to clear out her drive way and then performed our good deed for the day by assisting an elderly neighbor down the block. By 10 am we felt like we had accomplished something and earned the right to curl up on the couch for a nap this afternoon.
Pre-nap I am reading the Minneapolis Star Tribune Sunday paper and was pleased to see that Minnesota poet Danez Smith won a rather prestigious award for his sequence of poems titled “Summer, somewhere.” The sequence is from Smith’s collection “Don’t Call Us Dead,” published in 2017 by Graywolf Press. I have included one segment of his prize winning poem above. It seems rather fitting given today’s weather. To answer his question in the final stanza of the excerpt I have included; I do know what it is like to live someplace that loves me back. It’s why Minneapolis is my home, the same as Danez Smith.
To read a longer excerpt from his poem, or listen to Smith give a reading, check out the link below to Poetry Magazine.
Here’s the recipe I used to whip up this morning’s breakfast.
Apple Bacon Pannenkoeken
(serves 2, if you are shoveling snow…)
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of milk (or half and half if that is all you have)
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 medium apples (peeled, seeded and diced)
2 tablespoons of butter
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix eggs, flour, milk sugar, salt together. Fold in apples. Pick out large skillet (I used a 12 inch flat bottom with 2 inch sides). Melt butter in skillet and add mixture and put in hot oven. (Bake for 20 to 25 minutes)
While its baking – make your toppings.
5 slices bacon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
(mystery season of your choosing – I used a pinch of cloves and a dash of cardamom).
Drizzle of Maple syrup
While the pannenkoeken has started baking, cook your bacon – remove from heat, pat free of excess grease on a paper towel and cut up into desired sized pieces. Mix your seasonings together. Pull out your pan from oven with about 10 minutes left and add your bacon and brown sugar/cinnamon/spice topping. Dollop with a drizzle of maple syrup. Put back in oven and finish baking.
A pannenkoeken has a kind of crepe-like consistency. The bacon and apple give it something for you to chew on and the rest is sheer warm egg fluffy delight. This dish is so good you’ll wish it was snowing outside to ease your conscience for eating the entire thing so that you could go out and work off a few of the calories by shoveling.
Håper det smaker! Or Bon Appetite in Norwegian.