I'm not sure how to take this week's prompt at Poetry Thursday. Last week we were asked to write as someone else. This week we are asked to "be yourself". Really, even when imagining someone else's voice, I believe I am being "myself". Even if I am trying to copy something I admire, I believe I am being myself, because the urge to do so comes from within me. I'm not sure what it really means to be authentic, or not.
This probably requires a greater subtlety of philosophical discussion than I am capable of, so instead of agonising over it, I'm just going to post a poem that I've been wanting to share for a while. This is part of a set of sonnets inspired by familiar ingredients in cooking. It also relates to the rather astonishing feeling that I am now older than my own mother (she died at the age of 52).
Kitchen Sonnet #3
In memoriam Margaret Miller 1925 – 1977
Sometimes I feel ten years old, watching you
in the kitchen. You are mixing mash for the hens.
I will feed them, gather the eggs, carry them
carefully into the house. Did you ever wonder
how eggs in the nest bear the warm weight
of the hen and do not break? Here I am now,
older than you ever were. I don’t feel wise,
but astonished to have arrived in this body.
Every year there is more I do not know.
There is so much I would still ask you, but
you would not know the answers, even if you could speak.
I am the child who has run ahead on the path.
I glance over my shoulder, you are no longer there.
I am as strong as eggshells, and ready to break open.