While looking for a Hawaiian shirt at a thrift shop (for camp), my husband found a classic Italian espresso machine. Taking a risk that it still worked, he lovingly brought it home. It works. It’s a little fiddly, but it produces fantastic cappuccinos and espressos.
The espresso machine completes my favorite room in our house — my library/coffee shop/bar. It’s where I write in the morning, sitting on a ratty green velvet chair from the 70’s. It’s where my husband brings me a cup of coffee at 6 am. It’s where I watch the sun rise above the pines and hawks hunt. It’s an impossibly wonderful luxury after living in so many too-small houses.
Recently I ran across this Elizabeth Bishop poem that combines three of my loves — coffee, sestinas, and imagined histories:
A Miracle for Breakfast
At six o’clock we were waiting for coffee,
waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb
that was going to be served from a certain balcony
–like kings of old, or like a miracle.
It was still dark. One foot of the sun
steadied itself on a long ripple in the river.
At seven a man stepped out on the balcony.
He stood for a minute alone on the balcony
looking over our heads toward the river.
A servant handed him the makings of a miracle,
consisting of one lone cup of coffee
and one roll, which he proceeded to crumb,
his head, so to speak, in the clouds–along with the sun.
You can see the whole poem at Poem Hunter.
While sipping her coffee, Elizabeth Bishop imagines a whole history for the man she sees on the balcony. It’s an impulse I can relate to. When my husband and I were in NY a couple of weekends ago, we also sat sipping coffee and dreaming up elaborate histories for the people we saw around us.
For more poetry, visit Ms. Mac who is hosting Poetry Friday at Check It Out.
I love your beginning story, Katya. What a wonderful find, & then for your library, now complete. And I love sestinas, have used the form for my poetry groups, where students love the challenge of the structure. This one makes me want to travel far & experience those small moments that are so good on a trip. Thank you.
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Mmmm…people watching, and good coffee…
Your library/coffee shop sounds like heaven! I love the “Rear Window” aspect of this poem. The people-watching was one of my favorite things about living in NYC. Thanks for this!
It ‘s one of my favorite things to do in any city I’ve lived in or visited- people watching at a sidewalk cafe table…great coffee in hand.
I invent stories for strangers I see, too. Thanks for the poem!
Congratulations on your new espresso machine! Come to Birmingham so I can take you to Starbucks. Several schools have given me gift cards lately, and I’m not much for coffee! People watching, yes…. thanks for sharing the Bishop poem. She’s fantastic with forms, isn’t she?
Happy to hear about your favorite room! It’s satisfying to have a good place to write.
Love it all–the coffee, the sestina, the imagined histories.
What a great room! I didn’t know this Elizabeth Bishop poem; thanks for sharing. Thanks also for sharing these couple of moments with your husband that made me smile – his bringing you early morning coffee, and the two of you making up stories about strangers while travelling. :0)