THE

DINNER FORK

TINES THREE IT HAS

OR EVEN MORE TINES

Has than these;

In either guise

A fork is wise.

It tarries not

Upon the tongue,

But hastens

Home when

Work is

Done.

Its

Tines

Are

Keen

For

Peas

Or

Ham,

And

Like

The

Law

It

Gets

Its

Man.

Also

Nice:

It's

Good

For

Rice.

Plate is the world,

Plate the paradigm. The shape

Of its history precedes Columbus, and

Yet follows him after. That is, plate is at once

Both flat and round. Plate is paradox and poet. Like a

Zen kcan, Plate reveals a pattern; but at its moment of

Greatest use its pattern is most obscured. That is how it

Should be, for a view of Mt. Rushmore or Zambezi Falls,

However prettier engraved in finest china, will seem less so when

Half hidden by a pork chop or viewed suddenly through a gap in

Mashed potatoes. This is a lesson of Plate: a large thing restrains

Itself from personal grandeur, for it seeks to serve, not dine. If, like

Plate, we will learn to take unto ourselves varied servings of

Goodness, bearing them for the nourishment and excitation of

Others through our own designs be obscured, we will be rewarded.

Humility and service, that is Plate. The martial Knife, the sweet

Spoon, the highly opinionated Fork -- these, in their silveriness,

Have the glory and glamour. Yet Plate abides, though its

Reward, when the embrace of gravy has gone cold, is to be

Thrust into a dishwasher and scalded. Drop Knife,

Fork, Sppon upon the floor -- they spring noisily up,

Raucous and complaining! Drop gentle Plate,

The pattern breaks, and paradigm's

Destroyed.

Mars

Is the

Planet

Of Knife.

A world

Of stab,

Stick, cut

And slice.

It lies

By Spoon.

Beware,

The fair!

It makes

Fork sullen

Over there.

Knife is

The senior

Instrument

Of dinner

Remember

Why, all

Sinners.

But

Though

The

Knife,

That

Warlike

Cutter,

Strikes

Pause

And

Keeps

Brave

Hearts

Aflutter,

Consider

This,

If no

Thing

Other:

It's

Knife

We

Use to

Spread

The

Butter

Truth

And Beauty

Sings the Spoon,

And all the table

Joins the tune.

Concupiscent, reposed

By Plate, its shape is

Of a lover's moon. No other

Implement at table to sweeter

Bear desserts is able. Is that

A tapioca fair? A too-hot

Cup? A piece Of pear?

The Spoon

You may

Be glad

Is

There.

Some

Say,

It's

True,

The

Spoon

Is

Weak:

Lacks

Point

Of

Knife,

Or

Fork's

Sharp

Teeth.

But

Spoon

Responds

(Not

In

Rebuke

Just

For

The

Record):

Soup.