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Poems About Food

Table of Contents

  1. Bread by John B. Tabb
  2. The Crust of Bread by Anonymous
  3. Dinner in a Quick Lunch Room by Stephen Vincent Benét
  4. Undue significance a starving man attaches by Emily Dickinson
  5. "When Good King Arthur Ruled This Land" by Emilie Poulsson
  6. The Cow by Ann Taylor
  7. The Milkman by Christopher Morley
  8. The Breakfast Song by Emilie Poulsson
  9. Bread and Cherries by Walter De la Mare
  10. The Old Frying Pan by James W. Whilt
  11. Bacon by Charles Badger Clark
  12. Animal Crackers by Christopher Morley
  13. Ten-Fingered Mice by Edgar A. Guest
  14. The Frosting Dish by Edgar A. Guest
  15. Amid the Corn by Hattie Howard
  16. The Drop of Honey by Albert Moore Longley
  17. Rhyming Corn Bread Recipe by Anonymous


You are what you eat.

– Old Adage
  1. Bread

    by John B. Tabb

    Still surmounting as I came
    Wind and water, frost and flame,
    Night and day, the livelong year,
    From the burial-place of seed,
    From the earth's maternal bosom,
    Through the root, and stem, and blossom,
    To supply thy present need,
    Have I journeyed here.

  2. The Crust of Bread

    by Anonymous

    I must not throw upon the floor
    The crust I cannot eat;
    For many little hungry ones
    Would think it quite a treat.

    My parents labor very hard
    To get me wholesome food;
    Then I must never waste a bit
    That would do others good.

    For wilful waste makes woeful want,
    And I may live to say,
    Oh! how I wish I had the bread
    That once I threw away!

  3. Dinner in a Quick Lunch Room

    by Stephen Vincent Benét

    Soup should be heralded with a mellow horn,
    Blowing clear notes of gold against the stars;
    Strange entrées with a jangle of glass bars
    Fantastically alive with subtle scorn;
    Fish, by a plopping, gurgling rush of waters,
    Clear, vibrant waters, beautifully austere;
    Roast, with a thunder of drums to stun the ear,
    A screaming fife, a voice from ancient slaughters!

    Over the salad let the woodwinds moan;
    Then the green silence of many watercresses;
    Dessert, a balaika, strummed alone;
    Coffee, a slow, low singing no passion stresses;
    Such are my thoughts as—clang! crash! bang!—I brood
    And gorge the sticky mess these fools call food!

  4. Undue significance a starving man attaches

    by Emily Dickinson

    Undue significance a starving man attaches
    To food
    Far off; he sighs, and therefore hopeless,
    And therefore good.

    Partaken, it relieves indeed, but proves us
    That spices fly
    In the receipt. It was the distance
    Was savory.

  5. "When Good King Arthur Ruled This Land"

    by Emilie Poulsson

    When good King Arthur ruled this land,
    He was a goodly king;
    He took three pecks of barley meal,
    To make a bag-pudding.

    A bag-pudding the queen did make,
    And stuffed it well with plums:
    And in it put great lumps of fat,
    As big as my two thumbs.

    The king and queen did eat thereof,
    And noblemen beside;
    And what they could not eat that night,
    The queen next morning fried.

  6. The Cow

    by Ann Taylor

    Thank you, pretty cow, that made
    Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
    Every day, and every night,
    Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.

    Do not chew the hemlock rank,
    Growing on the weedy bank;
    But the yellow cowslips eat,
    They will make it very sweet.

    Where the purple violet grows,
    Where the bubbling water flows,
    Where the grass is fresh and fine,
    Pretty cow, go there and dine.

  7. The Milkman

    by Christopher Morley

    Early in the morning, when the dawn is on the roofs,
    You hear his wheels come rolling, you hear his horse's hoofs;
    You hear the bottles clinking, and then he drives away:
    You yawn in bed, turn over, and begin another day!

    The old-time dairy maids are dear to every poet's heart—
    I'd rather be the dairy man and drive a little cart,
    And bustle round the village in the early morning blue,
    And hang my reins upon a hook, as I've seen Casey do.

  8. The Breakfast Song

    by Emilie Poulsson

    At five o'clock he milks the cow,
    The busy farmer's man.
    At six o'clock he strains the milk
    And pours it in the can.

    At seven o'clock the milkman's horse
    Must go to town—"get up!"
    At eight o'clock Nurse Karen pours
    The milk in Baby's cup.

    At five o'clock the Baby sleeps
    As sound as sound can be.
    At six o'clock he laughs and shouts,
    So wide awake is he.

    At seven o'clock he's in his bath,
    At eight o'clock he's dressed
    Just when the milk is ready, too,
    So you can guess the rest.

  9. Blow, Wind, Blow! and Go, Mill, Go!

    by Anonymous

    Blow, wind, blow! and go, mill, go!
    That the miller may grind his corn;
    That the baker may take it and into rolls make it,
    And send us some hot in the morn.

  10. If All The World Were Apple-Pie

    by Anonymous

    If all the world were apple-pie,
    And all the sea were ink,
    And all the trees were bread and cheese,
    What should we have to drink?

  11. Pease-Pudding Hot

    by Anonymous

    Pease-pudding hot,
    Pease-pudding cold,
    Pease-pudding in the pot,
    Nine days old.
    Some like it hot,
    Some like it cold,
    Some like it in the pot,
    Nine days old.

  12. Bread and Cherries

    by Walter De la Mare

    "Cherries, ripe cherries!"
    The old woman cried,
    In her snowy white apron,
    And basket beside;
    And the little boys came,
    Eyes shining, cheeks red,
    To buy bags of cherries
    To eat with their bread.

  13. The Old Frying Pan

    by James W. Whilt

    You may talk of your broilers, both single and double,
    Your roasters and toasters, they're all lots of trouble;
    But when out in the hills, just find if you can,
    Any kind of a dish like the old frying pan.

    Over a campfire you don't need a stove,
    Out in the hills, the place we all love,
    Such hotcakes they never were tasted by man,
    With many the thanks to the old frying pan.

    When the trout are all fried to a rich golden brown,
    I know old epicures would look, with a frown
    At the meal set before me; dispute it who can,
    With naught for a plate but the old frying pan.

    With the venison cooked, the potatoes all fried,
    Bannocks like bed-quilts, with coffee beside,
    You could eat till you busted, dispute it who can;
    Was dish e'er invented like the old frying pan?

    Many a miner, in the good days of old,
    Way back in the foothills a-searching for gold
    Deep in some creek-bed, for the rich yellow sand,
    Has panned out a grub-stake with the old frying pan.

    There's been cattle rustlers, when in a great hurry
    Used no other iron, but why should they worry,
    For many and many and many the brand,
    That has been blotched out with an old frying pan.

    So your praises I'll shout, both far, wide and high,
    That you're the best dish, till the day that I die;
    Why, there's many a woman "cleaned up" on her man
    With no other club but the old frying pan.

  14. Bacon

    by Charles Badger Clark

    You're salty and greasy and smoky as sin
    But of all grub we love you the best.
    You stuck to us closer than nighest of kin
    And helped us win out in the West,
    You froze with us up on the Laramie trail;
    You sweat with us down at Tucson;
    When Injun was painted and white man was pale
    You nerved us to grip our last chance by the tail
    And load up our Colts and hang on.

    You've sizzled by mountain and mesa and plain
    Over campfires of sagebrush and oak;
    The breezes that blow from the Platte to the main
    Have carried your savory smoke.
    You're friendly to miner or puncher or priest;
    You're as good in December as May;
    You always came in when the fresh meat had ceased
    And the rough course of empire to westward was greased
    By the bacon we fried on the way.

    We've said that you weren't fit for white men to eat
    And your virtues we often forget.
    We've called you by names that I darsn't repeat,
    But we love you and swear by you yet.
    Here's to you, old bacon, fat, lean streak and rin',
    All the westerners join in the toast,
    From mesquite and yucca to sagebrush and pine,
    From Canada down to the Mexican Line,
    From Omaha out to the coast!

  15. Animal Crackers

    by Christopher Morley

    Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
    That is the finest of suppers, I think;
    When I'm grown up and can have what I please
    I think I shall always insist upon these.

    What do you choose when you're offered a treat?
    When Mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"
    Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
    It's cocoa and animals that I love most!

    The kitchen's the cosiest place that I know:
    The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
    And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
    The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

  16. Ten-Fingered Mice

    by Edgar A. Guest

    When a cake is nicely frosted and it's put away for tea,
    And it looks as trim and proper as a chocolate cake should be,
    Would it puzzle you at evening as you brought it from the ledge
    To find the chocolate missing from its smooth and shiny edge?

    As you viewed the cake in sorrow would you look around and say,
    "Who's been nibbling in the pantry when he should have been at play?"
    And if little eyes look guilty as they hungered for a slice,
    Would you take Dad's explanation that it must have been the mice?

    Oh, I'm sorry for the household that can keep a frosted cake
    Smooth and perfect through the daytime, for the hearts of them must ache—
    For it must be very lonely to be living in a house
    Where the pantry's never ravaged by a glad ten-fingered mouse.

    Though I've traveled far past forty, I confess that I, myself,
    Even now will nip a morsel from the good things on the shelf;
    And I never blame the youngsters who discover chocolate cake
    For the tiny little samples which exultantly they take.

  17. The Frosting Dish

    by Edgar A. Guest

    When I was just a little tad
    Not more than eight or nine,
    One special treat to make me glad
    Was set apart as "mine."
    On baking days she granted me
    The small boy's dearest wish,
    And when the cake was finished, she
    Gave me the frosting dish.

    I've eaten chocolate many ways,
    I've had it hot and cold;
    I've sampled it throughout my days
    In every form it's sold.
    And though I still am fond of it,
    And hold its flavor sweet,
    The icing dish, I still admit,
    Remains the greatest treat.

    Never has chocolate tasted so,
    Nor brought to me such joy
    As in those days of long ago
    When I was but a boy,
    And stood beside my mother fair,
    Waiting the time when she
    Would gently stoop to kiss me there
    And hand the plate to me.

    Now there's another in my place
    Who stands where once I stood.
    And watches with an upturned face
    And waits for "something good."
    And as she hands him spoon and plate
    I chuckle low and wish
    That I might be allowed to wait
    To scrape the frosting dish.

  18. Amid the Corn

    by Hattie Howard

    When roasting ears are peeping through
    Their silken tassel curls,
    When corn leaves glisten in the dew
    Like ribbons strewn with pearls;
    When Phoebus' splendor is revealed
    And gilds the summer morn,
    I love to walk the furrowed field
    Among the rows of corn.

    It brings to mind those vanished days
    In adolescence sweet,
    When through familiar seas of maze
    With ardent, childish feet
    That never tired, the glebe I trod
    The "hired man" to warn
    Where grew the tares, or where a clod
    Obstructed hills of corn.

    A happy home upon the farm
    In memory holds a place,
    That city life with all its charm
    Can never quite efface.
    O give me back the days of yore!
    When I, a farmer born,
    In pantalet and pinafore
    Grew up amid the corn.

    O that I could to nature true
    From etiquette relax,
    And follow, as I used to do,
    Papa's unerring tracks!
    A scholar, who could wield the pen,
    Whose honors well were borne,
    Was he—this noblest, best of men—
    Who plowed and hoed the corn.

    I'd rather be, though dumb and droll,
    An effigy to-day,
    A man of straw upon a pole
    To scare the crows away,
    Than like a figure fashion-spun
    A palace to adorn,
    Disdainfully look down on one
    Who works amid the corn.

  19. The Drop of Honey

    by Albert Moore Longley

    Sweet flowers, by light-winged zephyrs softly fanned,
    By busy insects, humming o er you, scanned;
    In forest glade, and on the water strand,
    In loveliness ye bloom.
    Alas! ye're faded now; for Autumn's breath
    Hath swept the glade, the strand, and scattered death
    On every hand, and with its frosty teeth
    Hath nipped you for the tomb.

    But flowers, your sweets ye've left behind, to cheer
    The heart and feast the taste we'd shed a tear;
    For like the good, whose good works still live here,
    Ye fade—and droop—and die:
    And though ye're gone, there yet remains, to lure
    The most fastidious, a liquid pure,
    Which bursts in plenty forth, so sweet, from your
    Ambrosial nectary.

    From out the fractured cell, the honey-drop
    Was gushing clear, and I essayed to stop
    Its downward course; so with a hasty scoop
    I caught the limpid store:
    But, O within that drop there lurked, unseen,
    A sting acute, and poisonous; which e'en
    Did pierce my mouth; the smart how keen!
    My soul cried out—no more!

    Still to my smarting palate it would cling,
    As 'twere exulting in the pain 't could bring;
    Till gladly I drew forth the ruthless thing,
    And ever since that day,
    Careful am I, when I do honey eat,
    To know if it has not a sting, to cheat
    Me of the joy that s oft so passing sweet,
    And dash the cup away.

    Moral

    Examine well the honey ere you taste;
    The sweetest pleasures here, if sought in haste,
    May give you pain—nay, they will often bring,
    Unseen by careless eyes, a deadly sting.

  20. Rhyming Corn Bread Recipe

    by Anonymous

    Two cups Indian, one cup wheat,
    One cup sour milk, one cup sweet,
    One good egg that you will beat.
    Half a cup molasses, too.
    Half cup sugar add thereto
    With one spoon of butter new.
    Salt and soda each a spoon,
    Mix up quickly and bake it soon.
    Then you’ll have corn bread complete,
    Best of all corn bread you meet.
    It will make your boy’s eyes shine
    If he’s like that boy of mine.


A wise man once said, 'a well fed volunteer is a happy volunteer.'

– Louis Stevens
Even Stevens