Here is the poem I wrote for my installation as NC's Poet Laureate in the summer of 2005. Yes, we had Laurette's cake at the reception afterward. You can download the poster of this poem from the NC Arts Council site: http://www.ncarts.org/elements/docs/PoetPoster3-1.pdf. Or you can simply take a look at how the lineation is supposed to be set against the background of a starry night sky. We distributed this poster to hundreds of schools and libraries.
PIECE OF CAKE
When the young woman calling from
Charlotte to interview me for her radio program
asked, “What is a Laureate, anyway?”
I heard my voice hem and haw
like a bad line of poetry. I thought I heard all of the Old
North State holding its breath while I struggled
to say something clever, but all I could think of
was “lariat.” Then in a moment
of quiet desperation, I thought of Laurette,
who lives just down the road
from my childhood home, hands busy sculpting
the icing on each of her Milky Way cakes
as she stands in the heart of her kitchen,
the sun sliding into the cornfields, another June
day disappearing, another night kindling
its Milky Way stars,
and at long last I know how to answer
that question. A Laureate
lassoes the Milky Way,
word after luminous word of it,
holding it out in her hands
like a piece
of Laurette’s chocolate cake
you’ll like the way poetry tastes!*
The North Carolina Arts Council’s Poet Laureate program
works to showcase the state’s poets and writers through
the leadership of Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer.
For more information about our state’s rich literary past
and its vibrant future, visit www.ncarts.org.
The North Carolina Arts Council is a division
of the Department of Cultural Resources,
*Poet’s Note: Laurette Hayes is a good friend and neighbor of my
family in southwest Georgia. She makes several wonderful kinds of
cakes, but her Milky Way Cake reigns supreme.
Causes Kathryn Byer Supports
Any environmental causes to keep our Southern mountains and our planet from devastation. Conservation Trust of North Carolina Nature Conservancy ADC,com...