A Poem: Toast by Leonard Nathan
When I first read this poem, it immediately resonated with me. I will not succumb to the temptation of explaining why I like this poem, or any poem I post, because that will defeat the purpose of my posting it. Readers are welcome to discuss, of course.
I first came across this poem while I was browsing the book Good Poems for Hard Times, compiled by Garrison Keillor. I don’t own the book, but from time to time I browse through it when I’m at a bookstore. One time, when I was at Border’s and having a snack of sandwich and coffee, I looked up this poem again in the book and copied it on a piece of napkin. Here it is. Enjoy.
There was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room and helpless
I fell in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roots
of the town, filling up
every dark depression.
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women. Was it the middle-aged blonde
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast?
Love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.