The Poetry of Cheese

My forthcoming work in five volumes, “The Neglect of Cheese in European Literature,” is a work of such unprecedented and laborious detail that it is doubtful if I shall live to finish it. I cannot yet wholly explain the neglect to which I refer. Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. Virgil, if I remember right, refers to it several times, but with too much Roman restraint. He does not let himself go on cheese. Except Virgil and the anonymous rhymer of “If all the trees were bread and cheese,” I can recall no verse about cheese. Yet it has every quality which we require in exalted poetry. It is a short, strong word, and it rhymes to “breeze” and “seas.” Cheese has also variety, the very soul of song. ~G.K. Chesterton [a little altered –tg]

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” —G.K. Chesterton

Dear Lady, I beg you
To cook as you please,
But don’t overlook the
Importance of cheese!
~Ruth McCrea, The ABC of Cheese Cookery, 1961

Shall I compare thee to a blue veined cheese
thou art more moldy and more curdly blue
~Barry Hopkins, “Sonnet 18⅔” (

Don’t take a chance on chili
With cheap, chunky cheese,
I tell you true,
Once you chew,
You’ll get a champion wheeze…
~David L. Harrison, “Choosy”

Cheese is one food that I really adore,
Every day, I seem to eat more and more.
Why, there is Red Leicester, Gouda, Gruyere and Brie,
And mild Gorgonzola on rye is for me.
Mozzarella is simply nice on its own,
While Edam on toast, I can surely condone…
~Janna Tiearney, “Cheese Please”

What are flowers without the bees,
What of grasses without the breeze?
Nothing the wind if not for the trees,
Nada la quesadilla sin el cheese.
~Terri Guillemets, “O! queso what?,” 2017

The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
A thing she had frequently done before;
And her spectacles lay on her apron’d knees…
~Charles Stuart Calverley, “Ballad,” c.1881

A furniture maker by trade, James McIntyre turned his hand to poetry in order to help others appreciate the many wonders of Canada as he viewed them. Key among them: cheese. Few could argue with his rationale; to wit, “it is no insignificant theme.” ~Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras, Very Bad Poetry, 1997  [McIntyre (1827–1906) is known as The Cheese Poet. –tg]