“Picnics” by Donald Hall

Donald Hall


The first three years
of our marriage, we picnicked with Benjamin
and Edward: Beaujolais
Village, Brie, pâté, and sourdough bread
on the softsward
We took pleasure in these friends from Toronto
who loved food and literature
as we waited for Shakespeare,
Shaw, or Chekhov
at eight o’clock in Stratford, Ontario.
The plays were rapture,
better our companionship in gossip,
theater, and poetry;
in goose liver, grapey wine, and cheese.
When Edward and Benjy
split up, we had moved to Eagle Pond.
We missed them, Stratford,
and picnics; we settled down to Kearsage,
red flannel hash,
pond summers, radio baseball, each other.

from Rattle #5, Spring 1996

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