Ode to Olive Oil: A Poem by Barbara Crooker

Here is another poem for National Poetry Month by Barbara Crooker from her book MORE. I posted a poem in February from this lovely book. Here is the link: https://www.menupause.info/archives/21748, and I have permission to post another poem. I picked this one because my blog/website is mostly about food and health, so “Ode to Olive Oil” seems like a perfect choice!




From hard green drupes

of bitter flesh, a river

of gold and green— From

trees bent like old women

whose leaves flash

olive drab to silver

in the hot breeze,

a bowlful of summer—


The transmutation:

flesh of the tree to liquid amber—

Picked by hand, collected in nets,

the willow baskets fill with fruit,

spill into wooden boxes,

are crushed between wheels

of stone, pits and all.


You can marry it with aceto balsamico

to dress your salad, gilding emerald

and ruby leaves— You can ladle

it on white beans and sage, drizzle

it on sun-warm tomatoes, lace it

in minestrone, bathe garlic heads

for roasting. You can make it

into soap, rub it with mint leaves

for migraine. Take a spoonful

to prevent hangover. Mash

it with rosemary and all the pain

is gone from creaky knees.


Velvet on the tongue. The light

of late afternoons. I am eating

sunshine, spread on bread;

primroses open in my mouth.

My chin gleams yellow,

the opposite of a halo,

but one surely even the saints

would recognize and bless.


ALl of Barbara’s wonderful poetry books are available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/193619600X/?tag=barbaracrooke-20  and possibly in local book stores or directly from Barbara: bcrooker@ptd.net.

MORE is published by C&R Press in Chattanooga, TN (2010) and costs $14.95. Their website is: www.crpress.org.

P.S. I love the abstract cover, especially the vibrant colors. The artist is Marilyn Banner: http://www.marilynbanner.com/.

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