“Such Simple Worship”

Cruciferous

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Tonight I have fallen in love with cauliflower,
the way it gives itself so completely
to the soup, the way it informs the curry
with nutty sweetness, with bitterness.
I love the way it turns to cream, how it
loses all sense of its former shape
and is still so wholly present.

I know it is foolish, perhaps, to toss around
a word so important as love, to spend it
on a vegetable. No, I tell myself,
it is worse not to fall in love with cauliflower,
worse to pretend that it isn’t a gift,
an invitation to praise. Such simple worship,
a bowl, a spoon, a willing tongue.

I often remember Kahlil Gibran’s wise words when I read Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s wonderful poems: “Work is love made visible.” We sometimes think that gratitude should be reserved for the “larger things” in life, yet this poem invites us to see praise as a constant practice—a kind of work we have to do on a daily basis in order to fully surrender to and enter our world. It can be difficult “to fall in love with” ordinary things we find in the house around us, especially a vegetable as humble as the cauliflower. As the poet points out, however, though it might seem “foolish” to others when we allow ourselves to express our love so openly, it is “worse to pretend that it isn’t a gift.” Don’t we too “lose all sense” of our former shape when we let ourselves melt into the moment as it is, “still so wholly present?” And isn’t this how we enter the gate of gratitude, by giving ourselves completely over to the force of love, which is always larger than the self? If we can do that even while making cauliflower soup, this poem implies, then every step in the recipe becomes a way to worship and praise the pot, the bowl, the spoon—whatever happens to cross our path.

Invitation for Writing and Reflection: What simple act can you practice praising today, even if it seems too unworthy at first of gratefulness? What plain and simple things have you “fallen in love with” lately?

—James Crews