The Potato Eaters

By Leonard E. Nathan 1924–2007
Sometimes, the naked taste of potato
reminds me of being poor.

The first bites are gratitude,
the rest, contented boredom.

The little kitchen still flickers
like a candle-lit room in a folktale.

Never again was my father so angry,
my mother so still as she set the table,

or I so much at home.

Reprinted by permission of the author, whose most recent book is Tears of the Old Magician, Orchises Press, 2003.

Source: Tears of the Old Magician (Orchises Press, 2003)

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Poet Leonard E. Nathan 1924–2007

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Home Life, Relationships

Poetic Terms Couplet

Biography

Leonard E. Nathan was a poet, critic, translator and professor emeritus of rhetoric at the University of California-Berkeley. Born in 1924 in southern California, Nathan earned his PhD at Berkeley in 1961. Nathan was instrumental in many of the transformational changes occuring within the University during the late 1960s and was one of the founders of the Department of Rhetoric. A vibrant teacher, Nathan was also a prolific poet . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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