Breaking Bread

Let me help you break the bread

with my family this holiday.

You step over the threshold, ignore the salt,

admire the braided beauty on the plate.

Chew it and savour,

linger on the aftertaste of generations’ toil.

Your family has a Domesday entry.

Mine is self-sufficient.

Grains are the pride of every house: maize and wheat,

we pat our mămăligă,

we mould our bread with tears and laughter,

age plum brandy in lop-sided barrels,

magic forth the salt from deep mines.

For what more do you need

for your gut to be satiated

for merriment to bubble up

and your face to flush with our endless questions?

Welcoming guests with bread, salt and drink. From doxologia.ro
Welcoming guests with bread, salt and drink. From doxologia.ro

Over at dVerse Poets we are talking bread in all its forms, getting ready for the holidays.

The Goat: dVerse Poets Photo Prompt

Intriguing, unusual and slightly nightmarish… the photos by Phyllis Galembo of masks and rituals are an anthropologist’s treasure trove. Anthony Desmond over at dVerse Poets is encouraging us to use one of those pictures as a prompt for exploring our own masks and underlying boldness. For me, the image below evokes an annual Romanian New Year’s tradition known as CapraThe Goat Dance.

Water Buffalo Devil in Africa
Water Buffalo Devil in Africa

‘Vine capra, vine capra!’

We waited in vain, my cousins and I. There was no goat dance for us that night.

They came in the morning, in the ice-encrusted dawn hours.

‘It gets earlier every year,’ grumbled Uncle Ilie.

But he shrugged on his sheepskin coat and went to open the gates.

The yard filled with men, stamping, drumming.

A squeaky accordeon player stood a little aside to avoid the kicks,

the prancing, the clattering jaws of the goat.

They spoke words we could not fathom, sense now lost, left only rhyme.

Caught up in frenzy of voices, we waved our arms like windmills, tried to catch

the gauzy frills or greasy kid fur,

tried to match it jump for jump,

little knowing that the devils we were chasing

were far too deep within.