irish breadWith one of the best opening lines in Irish Poetry, the poem forces us to consider the natural cycle of life and those who nurture and shape us….

Think about the journey from field to mill to kitchen to oven to stomach. Contemplate the female presence – a mother or grandmother…a wife or lover… Consider the images of the hands at work and the violence of the knife used to make a cross on top of the bread before it goes into the oven. Kennelly takes something ordinary and describes it as wonderful and worthy of awe. The woman is a craftsperson, skilled and confident in her work.