Poem of the Week: Possum Crossing by Nikki Giovanni via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Possum Crossing, by Nikki Giovanni

Backing out the driveway
the car lights cast an eerie glow
in the morning fog centering
on movement in the rain slick street

Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes
a little raccoon
I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did
could not escape the cat toying with his life
Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home … being
naturally … slow her condition makes her even more ginger

We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling
neighbors:
we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and
railroad crossings

All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs
think themselves invincible and pay no heed
to the rolling wheels while they dine
on an unlucky rabbit

I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it’s not a deer
or a skunk or a groundhog
coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me
and into the empty passenger seat
I look …
relieved and exasperated …
to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf
struggling … to lift itself into the wind
and live

For more information about Nikki Giovanni, please click here.

Thank you Alison.

alisonmcghee.com

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Poem of the Week: Any Common Desolation by Ellen Bass via Poetry Mistress Alison

Any Common Desolation, by Ellen Bass

can be enough to make you look up
at the yellowed leaves of the apple tree, the few
that survived the rains and frost, shot
with late afternoon sun. They glow a deep
orange-gold against a blue so sheer, a single bird
would rip it like silk. You may have to break
your heart, but it isn’t nothing
to know even one moment alive. The sound
of an oar in an oarlock or a ruminant
animal tearing grass. The smell of grated ginger.
The ruby neon of the liquor store sign.
Warm socks. You remember your mother,
her precision a ceremony, as she gathered
the white cotton, slipped it over your toes,
drew up the heel, turned the cuff. A breath
can uncoil as you walk across your own muddy yard,
the big dipper pouring night down over you, and everything
you dread, all you can’t bear, dissolves
and, like a needle slipped into your vein—
that sudden rush of the world.

For more information on Ellen Bass, please click here.

alisonmcghee.com

Thanks to Alison for sharing these gems with the world.

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Poem of the Week: What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

What to Do, by Joyce Sutphen


Wake up early, before the lights come on
in the houses on a street that was once
a farmer’s field at the edge of a marsh.

Wander from room to room, hoping to find
words that could be enough to keep the soul
alive, words that might be useful or kind

in a world that is more wasteful and cruel
every day. Remind us that we are
like grass that fades, fleeting clouds in the sky,

and then give us just one of those moments
when we were paying attention, when we gave
up everything to see the world in

a grain of sand or to behold
a rainbow in the sky, the heart
leaping up.

For more information about Joyce Sutphen, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

A big thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.

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Yummy Pad Thai

I’ve experimented with a few Pad Thai recipes and this one is simple, flavourful. The recipe is from a site called “Tastes Better From Scratch” that’s got loads of great recipes. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s been great each time. You can find a more detailed post here.

Picture from Tastes Better From Scratch

Ingredients

  • ▢ 8 ounces flat rice noodles
  • ▢ 3 Tablespoons oil
  • ▢ 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ▢ 8 ounces uncooked shrimp, chicken, or extra-firm tofu , cut into small pieces
  • ▢ 2 eggs
  • ▢ 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • ▢ 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • ▢ 3 green onions , chopped
  • ▢ 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • ▢ 2 limes
  • ▢ 1/2 cup Fresh cilantro , chopped

For the Pad Thai sauce:

  • ▢ 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ▢ 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ▢ 5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ▢ 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar * see note
  • ▢ 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce , or more, to taste
  • ▢ 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter , optional
  • Cook noodles according to package instructions, just until tender.  Rinse under cold water.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  • Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp, chicken or tofu, garlic and bell pepper. The shrimp will cook quickly, about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until pink. If using chicken, cook until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes, flipping only once.
  • Push everything to the side of the pan. Add a little more oil and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small pieces with a spatula as they cook.
  • Add noodles, sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts to the pan (reserving some peanuts for topping at the end). Toss everything to combine.
  • Top with green onions, extra peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges. Serve immediately!

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Poem of the Week: Things My Son Should Know After I’ve Died, by Brian Trimboli via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

 was young once. I dug holes
near a canal and almost drowned.
I filled notebooks with words
as carefully as a hunter loads his shotgun.
I had a father also, and I came second to an addiction.
I spent a summer swallowing seeds
and nothing ever grew in my stomach.
Every woman I kissed,
I kissed as if I loved her.
My left and right hands were rival.
After I hit puberty, I was kicked out of my parents’ house
at least twice a year. No matter when you receive this
there was music playing now.
Your grandfather isn’t
my father. I chose to do something with my life
that I knew I could fail at.
I spent my whole life walking
and hid such colorful wings.

For more information about Brian Trimboli, please click here.
alisonmcghee.com

Thank you Alison for these poems.

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Poem of the Week: Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Antidotes to Fear of Death, by Rebecca Elson

Sometimes as an antidote
to fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
til they are all, all inside me,
pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
into a universe still young,
still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
the light of all the not yet stars
drifting like a bright mist,
and all of us, and everything
already there
but unconstrained by form.

And sometime it’s enough
to lie down here on earth
beside our long ancestral bones:

to walk across the cobble fields
of our discarded skulls,
each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
thinking: whatever left these husks
flew off on bright wings.

For more information on Rebecca Elson, please read her fascinating obituary.
alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my new podcast

Thanks so much to Alison for curating these beautiful poems.

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Happy New Year

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January 1, 2021 · 1:10 am

Tomato Coconut Curry with Cod

My sister and her boyfriend gave this recipe to me as a part of my birthday present. I must say, I’ve made it at least a dozen times since then. It’s super easy, and really yummy. You can find a collection of their discerning recipes on this website right here.

This photo comes from Epicurious also a great food website:)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup mild red curry paste
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (5.4-oz.) can coconut cream
  • 4 (5-oz.) skinless, boneless cod fillets, patted dry
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Pour oil into a large wide saucepan and add shallot. Set over medium-high and cook, shaking pan often, until shallot is golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallot to paper towels to drain; season with 1/2 tsp. salt.
  2. Return pan with oil to medium-high heat and add ginger and curry paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste begins to stick to pan, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst and curry just starts to stick to pan, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Season fish fillets all over with 1 tsp. salt and arrange over tomato mixture. Transfer pan to oven and bake until flesh is opaque all the way through, firm to the touch, and easily flakes when thickest part is pierced with a paring knife, 18–22 minutes.
  4. Transfer fish and curry to a platter. Toss basil with lime juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Scatter over curry. Top with crispy shallots.

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Dr. Jane Goodall asks for Lucy the Elephant to be sent to Tennessee elephant sanctuary

Lucy the elephant has lived her life through frigid winters, isolated at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The amazing Dr, Jane Goodall taught us all that animals are intelligent, emotional, and social beings. Now, she’s asking Edmonton Mayor, Don Iveson and the Edmonton City Council to give Lucy the chance to retire to a sanctuary. Watch & share her message + tell your MP & Senators to support the Jane Goodall Act, which will create greater protections for animals in captivity, just like Lucy.

Write your letter to your MP here.  janegoodall.ca/lucy-the-elephant

Read press release here.

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Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano via Epicurious

This recipe by GLAIA KREMEZI is fantastic.

  • 3  pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and pour the oil over them. Add the garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste and toss well to coat with the oil.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. Add the stock, toss and bake for 10 minutes more. Add the lemon juice, toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. If you like, preheat the broiler and broil the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and serve at once.

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