The Invitation

We are going to serve a late lunch
For a few close friends in the garden.
We’ll start with a cold squid salad,
A pot of black and green olives,
And a loaf of homemade bread to wipe
The garlic and the oil off our plates
Between the sips of the yellow wine.

And if some bird graciously assents
To sing for us after the grilled lamb,
The cheeses and the wild blueberries,
We’ll raise our glasses and toast
The golden light between the leaves,
The shadows on the lawn lengthening,
And keep them raised till the song is over.

Charles Simic, the nation’s 15th Poet Laureate, a former MacArthur Fellow and author of more than 30 books, was born in Yugoslavia and now lives in New Hampshire. His passion for food (especially Mediterranean cuisine) shines in many of his poems. His most recent collection is That Little Something.

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