Poetry Corner : Peter Kocan

THE DIFFICULTY
by Peter Kocan (HT Club Troppo [now a dead link])

“It is difficult to eat well outside the capital cities.” — Food writer Cherry Ripe on ABC Radio, 1/10/97

It’s a heartrending thing to see
A gourmet who’s been caught peckish
And who knows he will never make it back
To the capital by dinner time.

There’s the look of mute despair in the eye,
The slack lips and distended belly,
The hand clutching the empty champers bottle,
The weak voice crying out for caviar.

We found a whole car-load of them once,
Their BMW stalled by the roadside.
We somehow got them back to the homestead
And offered what we could for pity’s sake.

There was nothing appropriate in the house,
Just Mum’s Sunday roast with the trimmings,
Followed by the apple-pie and cream.
Of course they couldn’t swallow muck like that.

We had to watch them wasting away.
We buried the pitiful bodies by the creek.
You blame yourself, thinking they might’ve lived
If only you’d had a French chef standing by.

Now we brood continually upon
Hardships that we have never known,
The endless compassion that we owe
To palates more exquisite than our own.