The path to Tornai began with Twitter friend @drmstream (on Twitter people's names or nicknames are preceded by the "@" sign). He mentioned "Average Waves in Unprotected Waters," a story by Anne Tyler first published in the February 28, 1977 issue of the New Yorker. When another friend, @Kcecelia, looked up the story in the New Yorker's online archives, she noticed and mentioned two wonderful poems by Hungarian authors that appeared within the Anne Tyler story's pages.
And so I came to read and love this poem. It is too fine to languish behind the New Yorker's subscribers-only wall and doesn't appear to be available anywhere else, so I offer it here.
Mr. T. S. Eliot Cooking Pasta
by Jozsef Tornai
Translated from the Hungarian by Richard Wilbur
He breaks in two the macaroni tubes
so as to make them fit the pot,
then casts them with both hands into the water
above the white electric range.
The water bubbles, seethes, the pasta
sinks to the bottom of the pot.
Mr. Eliot casts a glance
through the wide kitchen window toward the park:
it is raining there, and water
pours down the trunks of trees in substantial quantity,
tousling the lawn into a poison-green
Which reminds him of the pot.
Just so much contemplation has sufficed
for the rising of the pasta
to the water's surface.
He fishes out the bouncing ropes
with a colander, American-made,
and runs cold water on them from the tap.
"One is obliged to do so; otherwise
they will stick together." So Mr. Eliot writes
to a friend, later that evening.
"Still, the most gripping moment
comes when the macaroni
are broken in two with a dry crackle:
in that, somehow,
one recognizes oneself."