Friday, June 29, 2007

Pure Poetry

Have you ever read a poem and just had it speak to you. OK - I know, not too many people read poetry outside of English class which means not many folks have read a poem since they were well, probably a freshman in college. Me, I read poetry. Not as often as I would like, but I do read it on occasion. For me, the poems that speak the loudest are those by Robert Frost. You may think it is a little pedestrian to like Mr. Frost - he was one of the most popular poets of his time, he is taught in every English class that I can think of and he was the poet laureate for a time. The thing is, he was poet laureate for a reason - he was very, very good.

My favorite poem by him came to mind yesterday when I tasted a new type of honey, well new to me anyway. We got a bear of it at my family reunion in Gatlinburg, TN and opened it for the first time last night. The subtle taste of dawn coated my mouth as I drank my tea sweetened with sourwood honey. It is amazing to me that a name like sourwood can taste like a golden dawn. That is truly the only way to describe the flavor. So, now I am remembering my favorite poem - "Nothing Gold Can Stay." For those who don't know it, here it is:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

If you read that and think - wait, I've heard that before and it wasn't in English class you are probably remembering a movie from the early "Brat Pack," "The Outsiders." The movie version of the S.E. Hinton's novel includes a moving recitation of the poem towards the end along with a request for the main character, Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell), to "Stay gold."

I do not often think of descriptions for things like honey past "It tastes good." I probably would not have even thought about describing the taste of sourwood honey at all if I hadn't gotten a challenge from my friend who's family sells honey in Florida. According to her, there are many people who look for sourwood honey, but when she asks what it tastes like they are never able to describe the flavor. So, as I tasted it for the first time, I thought about the flavor and the only way to describe it is gold. Nature's gold.

If you can find sourwood honey near you, try it. You are in for a treat.

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