Saturday, April 19, 2008

Matzoh - a National Poetry Month post

In Eddie Izzard's act, Dressed to Kill, he famously asks "Cake or death?" Today, the answer to that question is a difficult one for many Jews. You see, as of sundown, Passover started, and with it came the obligation to eat matzoh. Now, I should note that you only have to eat it as part of the seder, and you're under no obligation to continue to eat it during the week of Passover: you just can't eat real bread. Or cake. If you want a wheat-related product, it's matzoh or nothing.

Also for those of you who haven't subsisted on matzoh for a week, you should know that it's not just called the "bread of affliction" because it's related to the flight of the Jews from Egypt all those centuries ago. Being a rather dry bread (oh, who am I kidding? It's an exceptionally dry bread, and is, for all intents and purposes, a cracker. A bone-dry cracker. But I digress), it can cause some rather unfortunate side effects. The kind that prunes were invented to cure. Cakes are made from matzoh meal (matzoh ground to a powder - it looks like flour, but acts like, um, lead) and from potato starch (the stuff that leaches into the water when you cook potatoes, or coats the bowl after you grate them, only without the moisture).

Today, I'm posting a bit of a poem by Marge Piercy entitled "Matzoh", with a link to the whole deal.

Matzoh
by Marge Piercy

Flat you are as a door mat
and as homely.
No crust, no glaze, you lack
a cosmetic glow.
You break with a snap.
You are dry as a twig
split from an oak
in midwinter.


Read the rest here.

The poem is from Piercy's collection entitled The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme, which I believe I'll have to be on the lookout for. In the meantime, for those of you celebrating, Chag Sameach!*

*Happy holiday!

1 comment:

Bruce Niedt said...

Hi Kelly! Cruising your great blog, when the Marge Piercy poem caught my eye. The Art of Blessing the Day is a wonderful collection, and it was my introduction to Piercy's work. As they used to say in the old ads (for some New York Jewish rye bread, I think) "You don't have to be Jewish" to love her poetry - Excellent stuff. - Bruce