Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe

By Bill Holm 1943–2009 Bill Holm
Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.

Reprinted from “Playing the Black Piano,” Milkweed Editions, 2004, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2004 by Bill Holm.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Bill Holm 1943–2009

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Activities, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet and essayist Bill Holm was born on a farm north of Minneota, Minnesota. He is the author of several poetry books, including The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems (2009), Playing the Black Piano (2004), and The Dead Get by with Everything (1995). His books of prose include The Music of Failure (2010), Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland (2008), The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth (2001), . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Bill Holm

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Eating & Drinking

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.