A Poem for Friday: Micheal O’Siadhail – Delight

It will come as no surprise that O'Siadhail is a poet who is closely connected with a number of theologians, notably the late Dan Hardy and David Ford.  This is about as good a poem about the sacramental dimensions of eating together as I know.


Let the meal be simple. A big plate
of mussels, warm bread with garlic,
and enough mulled wine to celebrate

Being here. I open a hinged mussel
pincering a balloon of plump meat
from the blue angel wings of a shell.

A table's rising decibels of fun.
Such gossip. A story caps a story.
Banter. Then, another pun on a pun.

Iced yoghurt snipes at my temples.
My tongue matches a strawberry's heart
with its rough skin of goose-pimples.

Conversations fragment. Tête-à-tête,
a confidence passes between two guests.
A munch of oatcake thickens my palate.

Juicy fumes of a mango on my breath.
(A poem with no end but delight.)
I knife to the oblong host of its pith.

Wine sinks its ease to the nerve-ends.
Here are my roots. I feast on faces.
Boundless laughter. A radiance of friends.

from A Fragile City (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1995), 72.