Friday, January 5, 2024

A Taste of Poetry: Bread by Francis Ponge

Some poems (in this case, a prose poem about bread by Francis Ponge translated by C.K. Williams) deserve to be consumed with their subject as an immersive form of sensory indulgence.

The scent, flavor and texture of bread is one of the best antidotes for winter blues. Heck, it's the antidote for just about anything provided you have a big hunk of butter, and a cup of coffee or tea to go along with it.


  1. Get thee to a bakery.
  2. Buy a fresh baguette and your favorite butter (the real stuff).
  3. Find a place where you, the baguette and a warm beverage of your choice will be undisturbed.
  4. This is your moment to have peace, quiet and respite from EVERYTHING.
  5. If anyone gets in the way, put on your best Greta Garbo accent and tell them "I vant to be alone!"
  6. Eat and read until you are fit for interaction with humans.
  7. Share the baguette (if anything is left). 
  8. Repeat weekly until March 21, 2024 (or when you see the the first snowdrop or crocus).


by Francis Ponge

The surface of bread is marvelous, first of all, because of the almost panoramic impression it gives: as though you held the Alps, the Taurus, or the Cordillera of the Andes in your hand. 

An amorphous, belching mass was slid into the stellar oven for us, where, hardening, it was shaped into valleys, ridges, undulations, crevasses.... And thenceforth all these clearly articulated planes, these thin slabs where the light meticulously spreads out its fires, – without a glance at the loathsome, underlying pulp.

This flabby, cold sub-soil, the inside of the bread, has the same tissue as a sponge: leaves or flowers are soldered together at every joint like Siamese twins. When bread goes stale, these flowers wither and shrink: they then separate and the mass becomes crumbly. 

But let's break it off here: for bread in our mouths should be less an object of respect than of consumption. 


Selected Poems by Francis Ponge is by edited by Margaret Guiton and published by Wake Forest University Press (1994). 

Ponge is known for his prose poem style. “Bread” exemplifies this.