Seamus and Shelagh


In a poem whose name I do not remember, Seamus Heaney corrects those, including himself, who would rush to write. The bastion of sensation, he says. Do not waver into language. Do not waver in it. 

For Heaney, the bastion of sensation, the room from which he built, was the scullery. Know it cold, he advised. 

In our house, the kitchen is the bastion of sensation, and Shelagh is its poet. She knows it cold. I try to protect it by recording her kitchen words. This is the collection to date. 

Nothing really smells like brown sugar.
Is there anything better than a lime?
Is there anything better than a lemon?
Is there anything better than an orange?
I love parmesan cheese.
Look at an onion. Just look at it!
I love the smell of cilantro.
It's the smell of mushrooms. I have discovered the mushrooms are the key!
I love mint. The smell of mint. That's it.
Can you smell the squash? It smells great.
Wow! Smell that! Fresh basil!
It's so pretty. Flakey salt is the best.
When you come upstairs you can smell the herbs.
The house still smells great from the shrimp we made yesterday.
The smell of toast in the morning

To be continued. And that is music to my ears.



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