By Bread Alone

Original Text: 
Ruth Gilbert, The Luthier: Poems (1966): 28.
2The bread we break and eat monotonously
4She is not fed whose hungry mouth has known
5Dream's honeyed fruit, and eaten ravenously;
6Love, love, I cannot live by bread alone.
7My grief with my astonishment I own
8That bread once broken humbly, gratefully,
9Upon my lips turns back, turns back to stone.
11Who eats their bread starves imperceptibly
12Love, love, I cannot live by bread alone.
13Ungrateful, I am powerless to atone
14Who only know that bread you break with me
15Upon my lips turns back, turns back to stone.
16Here is the truth that penetrates to bone;
17This daily bread, once our sufficiency,
18Upon my lips turns back, turns back to stone.
19Love, love, I cannot live by bread alone.

Notes

1] "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." (Deuteronomy 8:3) Back to Line
3] "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" (Lot's wife; Genesis 19.26). Back to Line
10] tares: weeds. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2009
Form: 
Special Copyright: 

"By Bread Alone" &#169; Ruth Gilbert. Printed gratis, and specifically for Representative Poetry Online, with permission of the author. As published in <i>The Luthier</i> (1966). Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from Ruth Gilbert.