Inviting a friend to lunch

John Hollander

Martial and Jonson frame my text,
A pleasant catalogue of what
Delights for you are to be got
At lunch with me on Monday next:

An avocado full of pink
Prawns we will wash in a tide cleaner
Than ocean – pale Gewürztraminer
Chilled just to make the palate wink;

A green world walled within a bowl,
Unfallen leaves that crown their plate
With which sweetly to celebrate
Crispness of body, oil of soul;

Then a pure red will come to seem
Sublimer than that salad love –
Ripe strawberries, like pictures of
Kisses, quite innocent of cream.

A banquest of discourse and taste,
Or ear and odour, eye and mind –
How asymmetric and unkind
If the last sense be left to waste!

Let the repast be not ungirt
By garlands sweeter than the green;
It would be rather worse than mean
Not to touch the most just dessert.