Oddments

In search of story


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September 25.22: Coping, but barely

Ceres paints in shades of cream,

daubing light like candle gleam

in autumn;

a mother’s sign when daughter leaves,

soft-whistling wind in union grieves

in autumn;

in seed-pod spike, in brittle stem,

desiccated requiem,

in autumn;

grasses in allegiance tender

bow their annual surrender

in autumn;

luminous mantle, light as breath,

gentle over sleep and death,

in autumn;

mother’s vigil thus ignited

over waning year twilighted,

in autumn.

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

and to artful arranger D.J. Berg.


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September 21.22: Coping, but barely

My mother had a habit —

endearing it was not —

that ended every argument

abruptly on the spot.

“That’s just dumb!” the guillotine,

no gentle, soft word cuddle,

the end, finis, the fortress wall

to onslaught of rebuttal.

To consider rank stupidity,

deserving of disdain,

to her was waste of time

and energy and brain.

I’d messily implode

when she Mommed me in this way,

but I must admit I hear me

quoting her today.

“Don’t cook chicken in Nyquil,”

the headline black and bold,

bewilders and confounds —

is it just because I’m old?

Besides the who-cares? key

that’s lacking on my board,

the that’s-just-dumb key’s missing

and I’d like it underscored.

 

Really, dear reader? Don’t cook chicken in Nyquil? Did you ever wish your parents, grandparents, or others in their generations were around to react to the things that assail us on the computer screen? I do. I think I’d laugh a lot.

 

Cookbook by Betty Crocker, 1940. Which you probably guessed.

I like to keep things that are older than I am, even if squeakingly so.


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September 5.22: Coping, but barely

The gardener’s profound satisfaction,

last word in delayed gratification:

a corner that booms

with tumultuous blooms,

and a duck for gentrification.

 

On Labor Day we who garden ask ourselves if gardening is labor or therapy or fun. The answer is yes. I think the same applies to wood-working, cookie-baking, quilting, and maybe half a hundred other ways in which we invest ourselves. When we were thirty, it was different, and today I thank all those younger people whose labor keeps me going.

 

Thanks to my son the gardener for photo op.


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September 3.22: Coping, but barely

Harvest looms,

maple tips blush,

September’s percussion

comes in a rush.

Wachoo, snuffle, snort!

rings out through the land;

kleenex is crammed

in pocket and hand.

With sinuses gurgling,

persistent nose splash,

“Have a nice day”

is abject balderdash.

That hackneyed nice day

is pie in the sky

when the red of hot peppers

emblazons the eye.

Itching and wheezing

and scratchy of throat,

sufferers glare

when others emote

how lovely the day,

how pure the sky’s bluing;

they’d rail and berate,

but they’re busy wachooing.

 

 


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August 29.22: Coping, but barely

A holiday,

a break well earned,

routine and calendar

happily spurned.

All well and good,

but it’s bad news

when the vacationer is

my mercurial muse.

And so I’m stuck

with blank white screen

until she returns

from where she’s been.

OK, so you have to kind of bend the rhyme there at the end. I’m desperate.

She’s gone again! Those of you who know me know my problems with my willful muse. Sometimes she just takes off. But she taunts me with beginnings. I have begun to write several posts over the last ten days or so, and the quality they all have in common is dreadfulness.


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August 9.22: Coping, but barely

I am going to try to learn something new, dear reader: prose poetry. Apparently the main difference between poetry and prose poetry is form: whereas poetry uses word arrangement on the page to convey (or obscure) meaning, prose poetry is written in the plainness of paragraphs (I wonder if writers dream in alliteration).

Some of you have written prose that I think occasionally morphs into poetry, and I always have to read it over to try to figure out how it snagged me. The Poetry Foundation has an elegant example of Prose Poetry by Amy Lowell. It is instructive to me. Some of the other examples are not so helpful.

I expect my attempts to be awkward, but I want to see if I can figure it out. Consider yourself warned.

Maureen

 

 


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July 25.22: Coping, but barely

A garden in a kettle,

what enticement to know more;

no ordinary flowerpot

hints so of family lore.

Kettles are like aprons,

remnants, scraps and shreds

of kitchens gone to dust

except inside our heads.

Replaced by kitchen jewelry

gleaming, digitized,

its plump and stolid air

is yet unbowdlerized.

Something in its roundness

brings noodle dough to mind,

vegetable soup with barley,

doughnuts cinnamon-brined,

children up on tip-toe

to watch and sniff, content,

the world in proper order

as it was surely meant.

Today its storied depths

give rise to happy greenery,

rooted, like our memories,

in distant kitchen scenery.

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to gardener and family preservationist D.J. Berg.