An introductory note on the poem “After the dishes are done” by Harold McCay
The spilling of wine has a proud history as a metaphor going back at least as far as Euripides. Medea refers to the stain on her hand as the crushed grapes of the wine she has prepared for Jason. And, there is, of course, the wine of the sacrament. And on and on. This is not in that vein. Here, the cigar may just be a cigar. This once had a working title of “In Lieu of the Evening News.” But I felt it imposed. Like an attempt to compete with Dover Beach. Ignorant armies abound, for sure. And they can’t be ignored. But neither can trivialities. Trivialities may be trivial, but that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant. Perhaps.
Harold McCay is a professor in the Theater Department at Lewis University.
After the dishes are done
Very nice dinner of fish
Done up Veracruzana, says my wife
With a little pasta and sprouts of Brussels
And now the dishes are cleaned
The pots and pans and such, some even dried
And with the third or fourth glass of wine
I retire—meaning go outside and sit
To write insightful verses on
The condition of common lives today.
Swatting at a gnat
I knock over my glass, nearly full, of wine.
I clean it up.
Upset, but not too much.
The gnat is dead.
The Nighthawk squeaks above
The light and the breeze fades
On a very warm day at the end of May.
I will now refill my wine.
Ahhh. There, now.
Back in the mood for poetry.
But my light fades,
So back to my subject—dishes.
What peace, repose—almost joy.
The dishes are done.