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As a chef,

I’m often asked

How to woo an errant appetite,

Peckish with some wound -

How to enliven a hunger that’s gone south,

When dreams are detoured

Leaving only doubt.

So I say,

Coax it with herbs,

Green and fresh -

Soothe it with lemon balm

Or uplift it with ginger -

Entice it with wine-red chilli

Pungent with deep heat.

Love it with vanilla beans

Familiar and sweet -

Cool it with mint,

Let it settle and heal

With lavender tea, roses, cinnamon and orange peel.

A lost appetite will wake up,

Once vital, it will indeed revive -

It simply has no other choice.

And in time what was quiet and still

Will once again rejoice.

But how to bring spirit to the plate

When the palate is empty?

Bereft of sentiment or even sunny chatter  -

How to court an unsung heart

When dark moods have come to prey

When the inner pantry feels bare,

And tumbleweed blows

Through the spice shelf of life -

When the heart is caught not singing

What then?

Well, I say

The tonic is the same.

The ladle ever poised, still pertains -

Love that heart in great measure!

Don’t stint on the elixir,

Coax it with the breeze of the trees

Soothe it with kisses

Let it rise and breathe.

Don’t leave warmth to choice.

And in time,

What was quiet and still

Will once again rejoice