Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Hunger

I had been hungry, all the Years —


How hungry are you? What does it mean to be hungry? Emily Dickinson’s reflections give me pause. My comments follow.

I had been hungry, all the Years –
My Noon had Come – to dine –
I trembling drew the Table near –
And touched the Curious Wine –

‘Twas this on Tables I had seen –
When turning, hungry, Home
I looked in Windows, for the Wealth
I could not hope – for Mine –

I did not know the ample Bread –
‘Twas so unlike the Crumb
The Birds and I, had often shared
In Nature’s – Dining Room –

The Plenty hurt me – ‘twas so new –
Myself felt ill – and odd –
As Berry – of a Mountain Bush –
Transplanted – to the Road –

Nor was I hungry – so I found
That Hunger – was a way
Of Persons outside Windows –
The Entering – takes away –

c. 1862

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

In the 1950s, we drove the same route every day on our way to grade school in Savannah, Georgia. Over the years, two large housing developments began going up just outside the city limits. Young couples with growing families Read the rest of this entry »

Running a Marathon Backwards

Vitamix Wonder Food

Dear Friends,

The last three weeks went by in a blinding flash. Seemingly at warp speed, beginning with the moment I knew I was going to land smack on the pavement.

Yet it feels like ages ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Food, Love and Affection

Fall 1965. Sometimes it seems I’ve died and gone to heaven! I’m living with a man who knows, loves and respects me. He doesn’t seem a bit perturbed about things I experience as shameful or diminishing. You know: my hair not looking ‘good enough,’ Read the rest of this entry »

noisy commotion

noisy commotion

young coopers hawk loses prey

aggressive squirrels score

* * *

Mid-fall games are on

Outside my kitchen window

Hunger games

Power games

Survival games

Fourteen Hungry Turkey Vultures, All in a Row!

(Not my backyard, not my vultures, not a fall scene–but it will do in a pinch!)

Outdoor tomcat–also not mine–takes victory strut around back yard

Proudly displays doomed sparrow clutched in mighty jaws

Knock knock


Enforcer squirrels rush into the fray,

Intimidate giant predators with much ado about everything–

Unexpected heroes in a bloodless war to the death

Seasoned hawk swoops to snatch juicy rodent

Young coopers hawk goes hungry for now

Are we having fun?

Not really

Too many victims

Too few heroes

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 November 2014
Photos from open stock on internet

Starving for Sisterly Conversation | Part 3 of 3

January 9, 1996, 9:00pm, Philadelphia
The phone rings.  Hi.  It’s Diane.  I’m not well – no easy way to tell you – not post-polio, but ALS – I’m going to need help, a lot of help.  I hang up and go downstairs, weeping as I tell my family the news.

January 30, 1996, late afternoon, Houston
I walk off the plane and see Diane standing in front of a pillar.  Small floral print on navy dress, empire waist and smocked bodice – ivory stockings – very pretty – gold chains – hair highlights in blond – stoop-shouldered and slow. Read the rest of this entry »

Starving for Sisterly Conversation | Part 2 of 3

The last line of the dream names my hunger:  “She seems lonely for someone to talk with about real life.”  Other parts of the dream identify behaviors I might want to leave behind, and a few unexpected personal capacities and resources.  This post focuses on my hunger, and describes how things begin falling apart. Read the rest of this entry »

Starving for Sisterly Conversation | Part 1 of 3

Hunger.  A fierce, relentless presence.  Sometimes for food when I was a child, later for sisterly conversation.  Not friendly polite talk, but safe, open, honest two-way conversation about our fears, agonies and dreams as we were growing up in the 1950s.

It wasn’t that we consciously chose not to talk with each other as sisters; it just wasn’t safe.  Besides, back then I wasn’t aware of being hungry for this.  I focused instead on staying out of trouble.  Sadly, I didn’t pull that off very well. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear California Grandpa,

Summer 1951

I’ve been wanting to write you a private letter for a long time.  Mother and Daddy won’t let me send you letters they haven’t read first. They don’t want me to tell you anything sad or anything about money. But I’m not going to show them this letter. It’s just for you. Read the rest of this entry »

iced ground

iced ground wind-whipped snow
mother squirrel looks for scarce food
huddled nestlings wait

*  *  *  *  *

She’s sitting on the frigid deck rail outside my kitchen window.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table, eating hot breakfast.
Her nipples stand out—she has babies to feed.
Her coat is heavy, tangled, patchy, worn.
She watches me from her icy perch.
She seems anxious, haggard.
She doesn’t rest for long.
The babies are hungry.
So is she.

I can’t help thinking about Mother. Especially after we moved out of our communal Southwest home into our one-family Southeast home. Yes, it was quiet, less frenetic. Good for Mother’s health.  But I wonder.

Being on our own as a family is a shock.  Mother is still recovering from polio, finding ways to live life without bodily functions she can’t take for granted anymore. Yet no matter how she feels, we need to eat. Three times a day.

I think about our communal home.  Here’s what Mother can’t count on anymore:

  • Women who share cooking, cleaning, and other daily chores
  • A large kitchen set up for daily cooking from scratch, with lots of workspace and storage space
  • A cellar lined with shelves of home-canned fish, vegetables, fruits, applesauce, jams, jellies and sauerkraut, plus large batches of whole wheat flour, oatmeal, sugar, powdered milk, canned milk, and other non-perishable bulk items
  • Citrus trees, berry bushes, and a large vegetable garden tended by some of the men and women
  • Chickens that lay eggs regularly; other chickens that someone can butcher for dinner
  • A dairy farm just across the highway where milk is abundant and cheap
  • Shared resources, especially when it comes to food
  • Someone to fill in for her or take care of us when she needs to rest or be away for physical therapy

Granted, it wasn’t paradise. People had to get along with each other. Some seemed to do more of their fair share than others. But we weren’t hungry, and Mother wasn’t responsible for getting it all on the table three times a day.

Haiku written 12 January 2014
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 February 2014

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