I am breakfasting here while you sleep

What if poets taught you how to write poems on TV,

The way chefs teach us how to cook?

Would Honey Yoghurt by Theo Dorgan

Sound like this?


Our first step is we look at the things around us and list them:

“Sea blue on the chairs and table,

The sun faded shutters, the taverna door behind me.

A concrete platform by the sea, frayed yellow rope

To a fishing boat bumping softly against smooth rock.”


Next, insert yourself, the poet, into the poem,

 sitting in a reflective state:

“I am adrift in time, breakfasting here while you sleep.”


Next a line about the food the waiters bring you, making it

sound timeless, and making the waiters sound like they could be gods:

“They bring me fruit – a nectarine, a peach – more coffee.”


Next, turn the ancient world into the modern world

with the following immediacy:

“Odysseus puts a hand on my shoulder, I look up but he is staring

Out to sea.”


Be poetic – say that a person who is swimming out from the shore

is “swimming straight out from shore, as if never to return.”


End the poem with a man returning to a woman – simple, yet timeless – a “paean” to the epic, but nod to the highbrow (Ulysses, The Waste Land, etc, etc):

“Presently I walk back the track with breakfast on a tray.

You step out of the shower as I stoop through the doorway –

Your skin so brown, the towel, your sudden smile, so very white.”


[See also Bread Dipped in Olive Oil and Salt]


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