Poetry at the Table

A couple of weeks after posting A Tale of Two Tables I found this poem. It reminded me how much of our lives can swirl around this one point in our homes.

I hope it reminds you of something you might have otherwise forgotten.

Perhaps the World Ends Here


Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter
what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set
on the table. So it has been since creation, and
it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies
teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees
under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on
what it means to be human. We make men at
it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the
ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their
arms around children. They laugh with us
at our poor falling-down selves and as we put
ourselves back together once again at the table.

The table has been a house in the rain, an
umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a
place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place
to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have
prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We
pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying, eating of the
last sweet bite.

Citation: Harjo, Joy. “Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 1994, http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49622/perhaps-the-world-ends-here.

– Savory

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