Many people have grown up reading the books of Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Fond memories of The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham might come to mind. One book that I was particularly fond of was The Butter Battle. Coincidentally, The Butter Battle was required reading in one of my high school classes, because one thing that I was not aware of when reading Dr. Seuss while I was younger was that Ted Geisel, in addition to writing children’s books, was a political cartoonist. In class, we learned how The Butter Battle is in fact an allegory for the Cold War and arms races in general, and a child-friendly introduction to the concept of mutually assured destruction, all centered on how to butter bread.
Another book I read in high school was a collection of Robert Frost’s poetry. I have kind of a thing for Robert Frost, as those of you who read my poem Gold, inspired by his poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ might have noticed. The poem in this post is also based on a Robert Frost poem, namely in that the poem is largely inspired by the poem Fire and Ice, one of the first poems I bothered to memorize. As you may have guessed by my previous mention of The Butter Battle, this poem is what I would call the spiritual successor to both works.
Some say that bread is buttered post,
Some say before.
From what I’ve tasted of breakfast roasts
I hold with those who favor post.
But if I had to host
I think I know enough of bread
To say that for ovens before
Is a good spread
And is still toast