the kitchen table

In Home, Poetry, Still Life, Uncategorized
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In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m sharing a poem I think most of us can relate to.

Perhaps the World Ends Here

~ Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Our kitchen table has always seemed the center of our universe. It has been quiet this past year but it stands ready for the world to begin again.

Susan

xoxo

12 Comments

  1. Such a great poem! And photos!!
    My kitchen table has been with me since my children were babies. I too have cherished it for all that has been taught, learned, and made there. The tears shed there. If I run my hands across it the memories come flooding back.

  2. Hi Susan! This post brings back so many memories. My favorite “shoe box photos” are those of our large extended family gathered in my grandma’s house around her kitchen table (actually several tables cobbled together). The poem is beautiful. The kitchen table is the heart of our home, too. I did read an interesting and kinda sad article this weekend from Vox, What is the dining room table really for? I was so happy to read your take on the kitchen table, feeling reassured that what’s important is that we stay connected – not so much how or where. Can’t wait to have my friends over on my screened-in porch for long talks and sweet tea!

    • The only time we use our dining room table is on Thanksgiving. Sweet tea on your screened-in porch sounds like heaven!

  3. Susan, this is such a beautiful post. Your photos are wonderful as is the poem. So much of our lives are lived at our dining tables. What a beautiful tribute, causing all of us to pause for a moment and be grateful for those memories.

    • I share this poem at least once a year, it’s one that has stuck with me. And how nice to welcome at new little family member to your table!

    • Thanks so much, Chinwe. Looking forward to celebrating with family at our table this summer after we are all vaccinated.

  4. Oh how lovely this is <3 The colours and light in that first image in particular – so stunning.

    • Thank you, Jenny. It’s a very old photo but it fit the narrative 😊

  5. I so get this! I adore your images and the passage of time through them. Hoping you get to see more people around your table in the very near future. x

    • Thank you. I was actually thinking of all the photos I remember seeing of your family at various meals…always loved them!

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