Mankind is never satisfied. As Eve yearned for the forbidden fruit, and Tantalus for the water he could not drink, we all hunger or thirst for something more than we have whether it’s food or love or adventure or poetry.

One of the most horrific accounts of hunger occurs in Canto 33 of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Count Ugolino has been imprisoned with his sons, in what came to be called the Hunger Tower in Pisa, and left to starve: 

 . . . And I 
Already going blind, groped over my brood 
Calling to them, though I had watched them die, 
For two long days. And then the hunger had more 
Power than even sorrow over me

Sometimes the slaking of our desire transports us to poetic heights as in William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”: 

I have eaten 
the plums 
that were in 
the icebox

and which 
you were probably 
saving 
for breakfast

Forgive me 
they were delicious 
so sweet 
and so cold

What do you think about Williams’s poem? You can also post another poem about Hunger and Thirst!

 

 

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