Sunday, December 13, 2009

EATING THE BLACK RADISH: a winter poem, by Margaret Benbow

"For general winter misery, pioneers used to cut a hole in a big old dirty black radish, and fill it with honey. They let it rot on a plate for a few days, then ate it."
Eleanor Randolph

A big black torpedo of sour and sweet
blows open the airways and routs them out,
old gorgeous ghosts waving their arms like Ivan the Terrible
reeling through the scarlet corridors of the sinuses
and also thoughts born on white nights
of a seven-month winter, small as nose-hairs
but each hair an iron root,
and mental fumes rising from bogs of cabbage soup,
icy firefalls of brandy, so that a man can hardly find
the tight growth lines of his own mind--

all blown sky-high by the black radish bomb:
you're lightning-struck, surprised to be alive:
then ribs of the brain-cave flare outward
to gold air and sun.


  1. Wow! I'm ready to eat that black radish if it gets me to some gold air and sun. As always your poetry delivers a pleasurable punch and tingle.

  2. M., you take this English language and roll it around, cutting out shapes and slapping them onto other shapes. Things like "nostril hairs," that's what I'm thinking of. Oftentimes I'm just amazed at the brazen means with which you describe a quotidien object.

  3. Jane, I'm ready to try the black radish too. Winter, Phooey! :^) Well, at least it's the right time for rich, meaty stews and glasses of robust red wine, eaten by the fire...

    Caroline, I had to look up the word Quotidien, and sometimes I think it's the English language that is slapping me around and not vice versa,but I enjoyed your kind compliment.

  4. Margaret Benbow, poet: “You said you consulted God before busting unions and robbing little children of their teachers. You said, ‘God loved it.’ But other people also talked to God: ‘How long do we have to put up with this crap, O, Lord?’ And God said, ‘Not long. See those recall petitions? SIGN.

    Ms Benbow what children lost their teachers? What School District layed off teachers?